Unlike its popular film incarnations, Tyrannosaurus rex – a giant dinosaur that eats meat from the Cretaceous period – walked slower than previously thought, most likely revolving around human speed, a new Dutch study has shown.
Working with a three-dimensional computer model of the “Trix”, the female skeleton of T. rex at the Dutch Naturalis Museum, researcher Pasha van Bijlert added computer reconstruction of muscles and ligaments to determine that the preferred dinosaur speed was likely to be 4.61 km (4.86 km). per hour, close to the walking steps of men and horses.
In an article on the movement of dinosaurs in the Royal Open Society Science, Van Bijlert and his co-authors said that T. Rex’s huge tail played an important role in his movement.
They looked at how the animals would achieve a natural frequency of movement, taking into account not only the leg muscles as in previous studies, but also the movement of the tail, which would reduce the amount of energy expended.
“The tail would swing up and down with each step (like a giraffe’s neck). If the rhythm of the steps and the natural frequency of the tail were matched, the tail would resonate, maximizing energy storage,” Van Bijlert said on Twitter.
By calculating T. Rex’s rhythm steps, the researchers estimated his walking speed.
However, it is too early to assume that man could have surpassed T. rex: researchers said they are watching the pace of the frightening predator’s gait and are still exploring its possible maximum speeds.
There is also no possibility of it being put to the test because the species became extinct more than 60 million years before humans appeared on Earth.
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