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Test of Tyrannosaurus speed - a modest proposal
All these simulations and speculations about the speed of Tyrannosaurus are
not going to solve for certain the question of whether it could run. More
direct science is required.
In order to arrive at a complete solution the first requirement is a time
machine able to send paleontologists back at least 66 million years.
Upon arriving in the Maastrichtian of western North America a simple
experiment can be conducted.
A Tyrannosaurus minding its business in the middle of a large field will be
Those who think that Tyrannosaurus was slow - your Hutchinsons, Brochus,
Horners and so forth - can serve as volunteers. No doubt they will be happy
to do so in the name of science. It is recommended that the subject/s engage
in some sprint training, running shoes and attire will be supplied for their
One of these brave fellows will run into the field drawing the attention of
the tyrannosaur and approaching within a few meters. He or she can should be
dabbed with the blood of a herbivorous dinosaur to enhance the desired
If the Tyrannosaurus is a scavenger then it will fail to pursue the subject.
If it is slow hunter then the paleontologist will be able to outrun the
dinosaur. In either case the subject will not be in danger and will enjoy
having their view on the subject sustained. Of course, in science
verification by repetition is the gold standard, so the additional volunteers
will be sent out one by one to further test and verify the hypothesis. Have
to be sure, of course.
If on the other hand the tyrannosaur does outrun and catch the subject then
the hypotheses that it was a scavenger and/or slower than humans will be
falsified. Verification by repetition is still required so the rest of the
volunteers will be sent out to support the hypothesis that Tyrannosaurus was
a fast hunter.
Of course, those who support the fast hunter hypothesis - your Pauls,
Holtzes, Christiansens, Blancos et al - will be happy to do their part in
this noble experiment. We'll carefully and fully document and record the
events from an armored vehicle hidden in the woods.
Those wishing to participate in this exciting experiment please start by
contributing to preparing the NSF proposal. Main funding can come via Fox's
new upcoming hit reality series Extreme Paleo.