Footprints in Spain show very fast and aggressive carnivorous dinosaurs | WSAU News / Talk 550 AM · 99.9 FM

By Will Dunham

(Reuters) – That’s not nearly fair. Carnivorous dinosaurs were equipped with fearsome teeth inside muscular jaws, used dangerous claws on their hands and feet, and had keen eyesight and smell. And, as new research confirms, some are pretty fast, too.

Two fossil footprints of the Cretaceous period from about 120 million years ago discovered in La Rioja, northern Spain, suggest that medium-sized carnivorous dinosaurs made them possible, scientists say. run at about 28 mph (45 km/h). Thursday.

This figure is roughly equivalent to the top speed of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who is the fastest in the world.

Two tracks located about 20 meters apart were discovered, one with seven footprints and the other with five.

Each track – the impression of a three-toed clawed foot – is about 12 inches (30 cm) long. They were created in the mud of the clock in an area inhabited by long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs, bipedal herbivores, flying reptiles called pterosaurs, crocodiles and turtles.

Speed ​​only adds to the arsenal of carnivorous dinosaurs like the one that left their footprints in Spain.

“Their ability to run very fast and maneuverability certainly allows them to hunt their prey very effectively. And of course I wouldn’t want to be caught by this guy on the riverbank,” said Pablo Navarro-Lorbes, a doctoral student in paleontology at the University of La Rioja in Spain and lead author of the study. study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The footprints carry features that suggest they were made by an arthropod, a group that includes all carnivorous dinosaurs, including the tyrannosaur Tyrannosaurus rex. The arthropod is bipedal, the largest being probably 50 feet (15 meters) long.

The researchers believe that the path was created by two different individuals of the same species. They suspect it comes from one of two families of arthropods: spinosaurs, many of which are fish eaters, or carcharodontosaurs, known for their shark-like teeth. These individuals are about 13-16 feet (4-5 meters) long and 7 feet (2 meters) tall, weighing 440-660 pounds (200-300 kg).

Running speed is calculated based on the relationship between the animal’s hip height – estimated from footprint length – and stride length. The stride length from one of the tracks is 18.3 feet (5.6 meters), while the other is 17.2 feet (5.2 meters).

One of the dinosaurs ran 19.7-27.7 miles per hour (31.7-44.6 km/h) – one of the highest speeds ever estimated for a dinosaur – and the remaining at 14.5-23.1 mph (23.4-37.1 km/h). A segment of the road shows a rapid increase in speed. The other suggests an animal is moving as it runs.

University de La Rioja paleontologist and study co-author Angelica Torices says speed not only helps in hunting but also helps to flee danger including “larger arthropods that can be considered They are their prey.”

Of the numerous dinosaur tracks found worldwide, nearly all represent walking rather than running. The fastest estimated running speed based on footprint is the Jurassic vacuum tree run in Utah at 34 mph (55 km per hour).

The scientists also calculated the dinosaur’s speed based on biomechanical models. The fastest using this method was the Jurassic turkey-sized theropod Compsognathus at 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour).

“There were several factors that determined a dinosaur’s ability to run,” says Navarro-Lorbes.

“One of them is size. Some paleontologists think that arthropods between 100 and 1,000 kilograms (220-2,200 pounds) may have been some of the best running dinosaurs because of the relationship between weight and muscular performance. of them,” adds Navarro-Lorbes, with long legs being another important factor.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien) Footprints in Spain show very fast and aggressive carnivorous dinosaurs | WSAU News / Talk 550 AM · 99.9 FM

Dais Johnston

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