Newsweek, reporting on a study in PeerJ, demonstrates how one of the scariest dinosaurs of all was really kinda slow and clumsy:
In a study published in Peer J Tuesday, a team from the University of Manchester, U.K., demonstrated how a T-rex would move. They used two separate biomechanical approaches to create a computer model simulating how T-Rex would run, if it could. Because their model combined different aspects of bodily analysis, including the stress placed on the skeleton and how its body would move anatomically, the team believe the picture produced is a more accurate depiction of T-Rex’s gait.
Their findings show that not only was the species unable to run, but it could not even walk very fast. If it were to run, it would have buckled under its own weight and broken its legs, they found. They believe T-Rex’s maximum speed peaked at around 7.7 meters per second, or just over 17 miles per hour (mph). To put that in perspective, Usain Bolt, during the 100-meter sprint, has clocked speeds of over 27 mph.
“We present a new approach that combines two separate biomechanical techniques to demonstrate that true running gaits would probably lead to unacceptably high skeletal loads in T-Rex,” study leader William Sellers said.
“Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the largest bipedal animals to have ever evolved and walked the Earth. So it represents a useful model for understanding the biomechanics of other similar animals….”
[David Martill, professor of palaeobiology at the University of Portsmouth, U.K., says] “As the sauropods were probably slow, there was little need for T-Rex to run, and a leisurely walk was all that was needed to catch its prey. Consequently, its skeleton was engineered to do just that.”