T Rex

How fast could dinosaurs walk or run?

Estimates of dinosaur speeds vary because several different methods are used to calculate them. One recent estimate suggests that an average person might have been able to to outrun an adult Tyrannosaurus (although you probably would not volunteer to try). The two basic approaches for estimating dinosaur speed are comparing to recorded speeds of modern animals of similar body size and build, and measuring distances between fossil footprints in a trackway and using these distances to calculate estimated speed. Walking-speed estimates for medium-sized bipedal (two-legged) dinosaurs vary from 4 kph to 6 kph, and peak running-speed estimates vary from 37 kph to 88 kph. The highest figure (88.6 kph) is the same as the peak speed of the currently fastest land animals, such as the North American pronghorn "antelope" (Antilocapra americana), and very probably is too high.

Chart showing speeds
of modern-day animals and dinosaurs

Speed comparison of some ancient and modern animals

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This page is URL:http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dinosaurs/speed.html
For more information, please contact Robert Weems at rweems@usgs.gov or Ronald Litwin at rlitwin@usgs.gov.

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Last modified 05-17-01 (krw)