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Tyrannosaurus rex biomechanics
On Monday. Mar. 11, 1996, Stan Friesen wrote:
> The problem is that the data on vegetation is really limited mostly
> to the floodplains. The inter-riparian areas are largely unknown.
> This vegetation may well have been more open, given the evidence for
> periodic draught in the area.
The above statement is incorrect. Fossil soils are known from
all habitats in the Hell Creek Formation, including the inter-riparian ones.
As I noted previously, the most abundant habitat type in Hell Creek time was
closed canopy, warm-temperate to subtropical forest. Open areas were
very limited, and primarily restricted to narrow zones adjacent to streams.
It is very unlikely that T. rex could have run at 40 mph in such habitats,
since 40 mph is the clocked speed of a racehorse sprinting on a flat
racecourse in a straight line. Tyrannosaurus rex probably would not have
been capable of such velocities in dense forest habitat, chasing prey
that was likely weaving and dodging. The large open spaces depicted in
the film Jurassic Park simply did not exist in Montana 65 million years ago,
though more open habitats did occur in Texas and Nex Mexico, and in those
areas, T. rex would have had room to run!
Western Washington University
Dept. of PEHR
Bellingham, WA 98225-9067