T. rex faster than Beckham

Dinosaurs could run faster than expected

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If we were to escape a Tyrannosaurus rex today, we probably would not stand a chance. For the dinosaur, running as slow, probably ran faster than a well-trained professional footballer. Using complex computer models, researchers have recalculated the speeds of various dinosaur species, correcting some earlier assumptions.

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Manchester University scientists wanted to know: could the Tyrannosaurus rex actually track a moving jeep, as shown in the movie Jurassic Park? Or was the carnivorous colossus too cumbersome for that? Using a powerful supercomputer, they set about combining the muscle power, size, and construction of the animals in a complex model to calculate running speeds.

Model based on species-specific biomechanics

"Previous research was based on data from existing bipedal model organisms to deduce how fast the dinosaurs could run, " said Bill Sellers, biomechanics researcher at the University of Manchester and one of the study's leaders. "Such calculations can accurately predict the maximum speed of a six-tonne chicken, but dinosaurs are not built like chickens and do not move like these." Instead, the researchers' model was based directly on data on the structure of the skeleton and muscles of the dinosaurs studied.

In spite of its great computing power, the supercomputer took up to a week each time to "learn" the animal's biomechanics - from the first clumsy steps to the modeling of the full-powered creature. The first test data used to feed the computer was that of a 70-pound human and the muscle structure of a professional athlete. The program correctly determined a maximum speed of around 25 kilometers per hour. Also as a test, the researchers had the speeds for a 30-pound South American emu and a 65-kilogram ostrich calculate. The result was correct 48 and 56 kilometers per hour. display

Little Dino faster than the ostrich

Then it was the dinosaur's turn. The data were entered by five different carnivorous predator dinosaurs, ranging from the smallest, the only weighing three kilograms Compsognathus, on the 20 kilograms, from Jurassic Park known Velociraptor, to the Sechstonner Tyrannosaurus rex. After all, the model gave the T.rex a respectable 28 km / h, which would be a little faster than a professional human athlete. Significantly faster were the smaller dinosaurs, the only three kilograms Compsognathus would have overtaken even today the fastest animal on two legs, the ostrich, loose.

"The numbers we've calculated are currently the best estimate of how fast these prehistoric animals could run, " said Phil Manning, an investigator. "Our study, which calculated for T.rex the minimal muscle mass the Dino would need for the movement, suggests that while this carnivore was not incredibly fast, it definitely could run and would have had few problems, for example catch up with football star David Beckham. "

(University of Manchester, 22.08.2007 - NPO)