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Author Topic: Tyrannosaurus  (Read 3355 times)
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2007, 01:51:00 pm »


Scientists who think that Tyrannosaurus was able to run slowly point out that hollow bones and other features that would have lightened its body may have kept adult weight to a mere 5 tons or so, or that other animals like ostriches and horses with long, flexible legs are able to achieve high speeds through slower but longer strides. Additionally, some have argued that Tyrannosaurus had relatively larger leg muscles than any animal alive today, which could have enabled fast running (4070 km/h or 2545 mph).[67]

Some old studies of leg anatomy and living animals suggested that Tyrannosaurus could not run at all and merely walked. The ratio of femur (thigh bone) to tibia (shank bone) length (greater than 1, as in most large theropods) could indicate that Tyrannosaurus was a specialized walker, like a modern elephant. In addition, it had tiny 'arms' that could not have stopped the dinosaur's fall, had it stumbled while running; standard estimates of Tyrannosaurus weight at 6 to 8 tons would produce a lethal impact force, should it have fallen.[68] It should be noted, however, that giraffes have been known to gallop at 50 km/h (31 mph).[69] At those speeds, the animal risks breaking a leg or worse, which can be fatal even when the accident occurs in a 'safe' environment, such as a zoo.[70] If it could run, Tyrannosaurus may have been a risk-taker, in much the same way as animals alive today are. Yet estimates of leg bone strength in Tyrannosaurus show that its legs were little stronger, if at all, than those of elephants, which are relatively limited in their top speed and do not ever become 'airborne', as would happen in running.

Walking proponents estimate the top speed of Tyrannosaurus at about 17 km/h (11 mph). This is still faster than the most likely prey species that co-existed with tyrannosaurs; the hadrosaurs and ceratopsians.[71] In addition, some predation advocates claim that tyrannosaur running speed is not important, since it may have been slow but better designed for speed than its probable prey[72] or it may have used ambush tactics to attack faster prey animals.
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