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Speeds and gaits of dinosaurs


Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 38(3-4): 227-256
Speeds and gaits of dinosaurs
The known relationships of speed, gait and body size (derived mainly from mammals) are used to determine the gaits and theoretical maximum speeds of dinosaurs. Speed estimates are made for 62 dinosaurs (representing 51 genera) and are supplemented with information from comparative anatomy and from dinosaur trackways. Smaller bipedal dinosaurs were capable of running at speeds up to 35 or 40 km/h. The so-called ostrich dinosaurs are credited with maximum speeds < 60 km/h, and possibly as low as 35 or 40 km/h. Larger bipedal dinosaurs were probably restricted to walking or slow trotting gaits, with maximum speeds in the range 15-20 km/h. Most quadrupedal dinosuars seem to have been restricted to a walking gait. Stegosaurs and ankylosaurs may have had maximum speeds as low as 6-8 km/h. Sauropods may have attained 12-17 km/h, and some ceratopsians may have been capable of trotting at speeds up to 25 km/h. On a weight-for-weight basis the speeds of dinosaurs are generally lower than those of mammals.

Accession: 006461559

DOI: 10.1016/0031-0182(82)90005-0

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