11 months ago
The Tyrannosaurus rex could not have broken into a run without breaking its leg bones, Buzzfeed News reports.
Researchers at the University of Manchester created a computer model of the massive land animal to determine the stress levels its skeleton was capable of handling at various speeds and gaits. While the skeleton could handle increased speeds, the bones wouldn’t have been able to handle it.
“These high load speeds can therefore be excluded from our predictions and this means that the possible range of maximum speeds has been greatly reduced,” the authors concluded, “and essentially limits adults of this species to walking gaits.”
In the past, Buzzfeed News reports, research had suggested the dinosaur could run up to speeds of 45mph, in part because of its long slender legs.
“These are features associated with fast running – ostriches, gazelles – so it wasn’t an unreasonable assumption to think it was a fast runner,” Paul Barrett, a professor of paleontology at the Natural History Museum, but not involved with the study, told Buzzfeed News. But this new research only adds to the shift in viewpoint scientists have seen in recent years.
“A number of my colleagues have previously thought that it wasn’t a sprinter – there’s a growing body of evidence that it wasn’t a super-fleet athlete – but this is a new technique, looking at how the movement would have affected the animal’s skeleton.”