Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: David Beckham Loses Foot Race With T-Rex

Jeff Goldblum is fast, and even he couldn't outrun the T-Rex.

Mark this under stupid things you never needed to know or care about. Apparently scientists have determined that the T-Rex ran at a top speed of 18mph. And for some reason in order to put this speed in perspective (because we have no way of understanding just how fast 18mph is), they said that the large lizard could run down and eat David Beckham:
Scientists using computer models calculated the top speeds for five meat-eating dinosaurs in a study they say can also illustrate how animals cope with climate change and extinction.

The velociraptor, whose speed and ferocity was highlighted in the film "Jurassic Park", reached 24 miles per hour while the T-rex could muster speeds of up to 18 miles per hour, the study published in the Royal Society's Biological Sciences showed.

"Our research, which used the minimum leg-muscle mass T-rex required for movement, suggests that while not incredibly fast, this carnivore was certainly capable of running and would have little difficulty in chasing down footballer David Beckham, for instance," said Phil Manning, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, who worked on the study.
It seems to me that about once every two years or so some yahoo Paleontologist who wants to see his name on the marquee (hyperbole alert) comes out and tells us just how fast the dinosaurs were. Well, zoologist William Sellers is aware of my skepticism and he has a response:
"People have estimated speeds before but they have always been indirect estimates and hard to verify," Sellers said. "What we found is they were all perfectly capable of running."
Yes, before this study it was impossible to verifty the speeds. But now that they are using radar guns on actual dinosaurs, there is verification (sarcasm alert). Can't we all just agree that the dinosaurs ambulated at a speed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5mph and 45mph? I would be satisfied with that, and so would David Beckham.

Lastly, through this whole thing I can't help but think of the tale of Deadspin commenter Jen P. and the running dinosaur mascot. Good stuff.

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