Research finds Tyrannosaurus rex was unable to run

Pablo Tucker
July 20, 2017

The researchers examined the gait and biomechanics of the dinosaur using a new simulation model created by combining two separate biomechanical techniques-multibody dynamic analysis and skeletal stress analysis.

There are few more alarming cinematic images than the one in which you see a Tyrannosaurus Rex in your car's rear-view mirror barreling up the road behind you in terrifying pursuit.

Professor William Sellers, who led the study, said the creature's legs would have buckled under the high speeds of 45 miles per hour it was once believed to run.

The simulation debunked previous ideas that the bipedal animal could run up to 45 miles per hour, showing such speed would break the dinosaur's legs.


Even though the T. Rex couldn't outrun a cheetah, its enormous body and frightening roar would be no match for most humans.

What Sellers' model revealed is that if if a T-Rex tried to outrun your vehicle in Jurassic Park, all the bones in its undersized legs would break.

"This project used a highly realistic computer simulation to predict how T. rex moved, and it shows that running would have been impossible because its skeleton just isn't strong enough", Professor William Sellers, the lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Studies dating back to the 1980s claimed that the T. rex had a very fast running speed and a high level of athleticism.


"The problem with that is that running that fast it would actually break all the bones in his legs", Sellers said.

Sellers' research analyzed the Tyrannosaurus rex's bone size, density and movement to determine the beast was "limited to walking speeds".

"The running ability of T. rex and other similarly giant dinosaurs has been intensely debated amongst paleontologist for decades", Sellers said in a statement. Therefore, these finding may well translate to other long-limbed giants so but this idea should be tested alongside experimental validation work on other bipedal species'.


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