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RE: Dromeosaurid speeds




> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of Brandon Pilcher
> Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 9:55 AM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Dromeosaurid speeds
> 
> Hello list,
> 
> Today I just found this cute little cartoon at:
> 
> http://www.xkcd.com/135/
> 
> Could Velociraptors or any other dromeosaurids actually move 
> at 25 m/s? If not, what were their true speed limits?
> 
While we have very little way to estimate actual maximum speeds of living
animals, much less extinct ones, 25 m/s would be extraordinarily unlikely!!
That is up in rhea/ostrich/pronghorn speed, and all those latter show highly
developed specializations associated with cursoriality.

In contrast, dromaeosaurids lack particular cursorial adaptations, and in
fact have relatively short stocky tibiae and metatarsi compared to (say)
troodontids or ornithomimids.

So the problem writers got their paleontology from watching Jurassic Park
too often...

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/
Fax: 301-405-0796

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA