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Re: VELOCIRAPTOR



At 06:41 PM 7/27/97 -0700, Glenn from the Big Easy wrote:
>I have been following with interest the postings on the velociraptor
>footprints. Could anyone tell me if there have been any mathematical
>calculations to determine speed?

        Kool (1981) did a series of speed calculations on dinosaur trackways
from the Gething, including Irenichnites gracilis (= Deinonychus?). He found
the >walking< speed to be 10.1 kph (~6 mph). However, this number could be
in error by as much as 20%, depending on the accuracy of Kool's hip height
calculation. That's a fairly good clip.
        In any case it seems likely that the claimed "cheetah speed" in
Jurassic Park would have been impossible. Dromaeosaurs lack the extreme
adaptations for speed seen in cheetahs (namely the elastic vertebral
column). The long femur in relation to the shank would indicate (relatively)
poor running ability, although the long ilium would have provided ample
attachment space for leg-working muscles. I estimate top speed of
dromaeosaurs at 25-35 mph, conservitively.

Also, I'm looking for any book
>specifically about the study of raptors. Is one in print?

        Yes, I am sure there are thousands of books out on raptors, many of
which are published by the Audubon Society. If you are referring, however,
to the greasy but marketable term "'raptor (TM)," the answer is no.

Reference:

Kool, R., 1981. The walking speed of dinosaurs from the Peace River Canyon,
British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Science, vol. 18, pp.
823-825. 

Sam