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Palaeontology

Can a human outrun a Tyrannosaurus rex ?

September 13, 2020 | Comment icon 27 comments



You may be in with a chance of escaping one of these. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Marcel Kunkel
New research has suggested that you might actually stand a chance of escaping a rampaging T. rex.
If it is often joked that if you were among a group of people running for their lives from a meat-eating dinosaur, you wouldn't have to outrun the dinosaur, you'd only need to outrun the slowest person.

In all seriousness however, it turns out that escaping from a rampaging Tyrannosaurus rex would actually be a lot easier than you might expect, even if you were the only target it was after.

The key lies in the fact that T.rex was most likely quite rubbish at running.

According to John R. Hutchinson, lead author of the appropriately titled paper Tyrannosaurus Was Not a Fast Runner, the tyrant lizard was only really capable of a short-distance jog.
The reason for this lies in the structure of its leg bones and muscles which, despite their large size, were not built for running at speed or over long distances.

If the dinosaur attempted to go any faster, there's a chance its leg bones would simply shatter.

While its (brief) top speed may have been up to 13 miles per hour - slightly exceeding the top speed of a human runner - it would have been very slow to accelerate and its large size would have made it lack the manoeuvrability of its human target.

All things considered, a reasonably fit human would have a decent chance of getting away.

Just hope that you don't run straight in to a group of velociraptors, however.

Source: Wired.com | Comments (27)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #18 Posted by XenoFish 2 years ago
I've got plot armor so I'll be fine.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Glacknor 2 years ago
Well, there we have it then.... T-rex clearly has an issue with stable line of sight due to bobbly-head syndrome (possibly brought on by attending too many, uh, T-rex concerts in their youth?). We'll be fine.
Comment icon #20 Posted by DanL 2 years ago
I doubt that the mature T-Rex ever ran. they didn't need to. they had a great sense of smell and would do much as the male lion does if it doesn't have a bunch of lionesses hunting for it. Let something else make the kill or find an injured or dying animal then walk up and take it away. They might not have been fast but there were probably not any other predators that could stand up to it when it was taking what it wanted. When leopards or cheetah make a kill they have to either eat fast or in the case of the leopard get it up into a tree or they will lose it. The adult T-Rex was probably more... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Abramelin 2 years ago
Dino-gekko??
Comment icon #22 Posted by Taun 2 years ago
You don't have to outrun T Rex... You only have to out run the slowest person in your group.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Carnoferox 2 years ago
I think the bot is broken, this paper came out in 2002. I don't know about you, but I don't consider an 18 year old paper "new research". There have been multiple studies since then that have suggested varying other speeds for T. rex. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11486275_Tyrannosaurus_was_not_a_fast_runner
Comment icon #24 Posted by Carnoferox 2 years ago
We know T. rex actively hunted at least some of the time. There is an embedded T. rex tooth surrounded by healed bone in one specimen of a duckbill, indicating it survived an attack. There is also another duckbill specimen with healed T. rex bite marks and even a healed patch of skin. Obligate scavengers are incredibly rare among tetrapods and T. rex certainly wasn't one. https://www.pnas.org/content/110/31/12560 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Depalma/publication/257047930_Skin_pathology_in_the_Cretaceous_Evidence_for_probable_failed_predation_in_a_dinosaur/links/5c63a3bd299bf1d14... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by Myles 2 years ago
Michael Scott can do 31 MPH.    
Comment icon #26 Posted by godnodog 2 years ago
well not impressed, I can outrun a shark so I should very well be capable of outrun an extinct species individual.
Comment icon #27 Posted by DanL 2 years ago
Fortunately the T-Rex was extinct for almost 65 million years before humans came down out of the trees.


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