Estimates of dinosaur speeds from a new trackway site in Texas

Abstract

A method for estimating the speed of a dinosaurian trail-maker from the size of its footprints and stride has been described by Alexander1. However, when applied to known trackways, this method gave rather low speeds (1.0–3.6 m s−1). Russell and Béland2 estimated a speed of 1.77 m s−1 for a slowly moving ornithomimid and 7.54 m s−1 for an allegedly rapidly running ornithopod. The latter estimate is questionable as there is some doubt concerning the number of prints (and thus the stride length) of the trail3,4. Dinosaurs responsible for trackways in British Columbia5, South Wales6 and Queensland7 all seem to have been moving slowly. Thus reliable estimates of dinosaur speeds are all rather low. Here I report dinosaur speeds based on trails at a new site from the Lower Cretaceous of Texas, some of which appear quite fast by Alexander's method1.

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Farlow, J. Estimates of dinosaur speeds from a new trackway site in Texas. Nature 294, 747–748 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1038/294747a0

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