Even if we can’t observe how fast dinosaurs ran in real life (at least for now), there’s nothing that says we can’t do our damnedest to figure it out experimentally. After all, if dinosaurs do make their big comeback, questions like “how fast do they run?” and “wait a minute…how fast can I run?” are precisely what you’ll want answered.
That’s why researchers William Sellers and Phillip Manning—paleontologists from the University of Manchester—used a computer program called GaitSym to model the top speed of five different dinosaurs: Compsognathus, Velociraptor, Dilophosaurus, Allosaurus and T. rex. (All of which, it bears mentioning, were bipedal and carnivorous.)
The pair used data from known fossil models to reconstruct the dinosaurs’ locomotive anatomies and musculoskeletal features. These models were then pushed to their limits in the GaitSym program, which ran each dinosaur’s model through different combinations of “muscle activation patterns.”
The upshot? The smaller the dinosaur, the faster it runs (at least for these bipedal beasties). The good news is that according to Sellers and Manning’s models, the monstrous T. rex would actually be the easiest of the simulated dinosaurs to outpace in a sprint for your life. The bad news? Considering the average T. rex clocked in at about .44 kilometers per hour faster than the average human, there’s still a pretty good chance you’re humped. (Even with a head start, Usain Bolt—who holds the world record for top speed by a human at 36 km/h—would eventually be overtaken by a Dilophosaurus).
Edited from Could you outrun a Tyrannosaurus rex?.