It turns out Jurassic Park may have one big glaring flaw in it, according to new scientific data. Apparently, the Tyrannosaurus rex was not a runner – it wasn’t even very fast.
Previously, paleontologists pointed to the giant dinosaur’s 3-meter hind limbs as proof that it could sprint after its prey, and likely did so. But physics has outdone these theories, the Washington Post reports.
Newer methods have begun studying dinosaur movement using models of skeleton and muscles. Using these, the picture that emerged of the T. rex was a slower animal, though no less a predator.
According to the authors of the study, the T. rex was a speed walker rather than a runner, with a maximum speed of around 12 miles per hour, thanks to its wide stide.
Phillip L. Manning, paleontologist and director of the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston, said,
Most of us would have difficulty jogging to keep up.
Previous studies ignored the weight on the dinosaur’s bones, the researchers say. Using the model, it appeared that if the T. rex did run, its bones would have snapped because its legs would have buckled under its weight.
So rather than running, the mighty T. rex actually walked its way through – though there was no doubt that it was still a terrifying predator during the Cretaceous Period.
John Hutchinson, an expert on evolutionary biomechanics at the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College, has also been working on T. rex speeds. He said this study was “a very sophisticated computer simulation.” He does, however, caution that there are other things that need to be taken into consideration with regards to the study, and that “we don’t understand the principles that govern speed limits in living animals.”
Manning agreed that the model they used could be improved, and further analysis could increase their estimate of the T. rex’s top speed.
The report was published in the journal PeerJ.