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What are some of the largest dinosaur trackways outside North America?

Other dinosaur trackways have been discovered around the world. For example, at the Lagosteiros Bay in Cabo Espichel, Portugal, there is a large trackway complete with multiple tracks from the upper Jurassic. The impressions represent numerous dinosaurs, including a sauropod that limped and examples of sauropods that moved as a herd.

What do dinosaur tracks tell us about locomotion of some dinosaurs?

Dinosaur trackways can tell us a few things about dinosaur behavior. For sauropods, the tracks are usually of more than one creature and head in the same direction, indicating a social herding behavior or even a migration. Some trackways include footprints of large theropods; some prints indicate a pack behavior for stalking large sauropods.

Dinosaur trackways confirm that certain dinosaurs walked and ran on all four legs (quadrupeds) and others on two legs (bipeds). The tracks also show that some dinosaurs walked in an erect fashion, putting one foot almost directly in front of the other. In addition, some dinosaurs quickly ran, or walked slowly, probably depending on whether the animals were browsing, wading, trotting, running after prey, or running from predators. Another interesting observation: so far, very few tail marks indicating the dinosaurs dragged their tails along behind them have been found in trackways. Because of this, scientists believe most dinosaurs probably held their tails erect.

Where did a dinosaur stampede take place?

Evidence of a stampede was discovered in 1960 in Australia. There, in the Lark Quarry Environment Park, south of Wilton, on the eroded edge of the Tully Range, are hundreds of dinosaur footprints preserved in rock. The footprints were made as dinosaurs walked in mud around a prehistoric lake.

Typical for animal life, most of the tracks were made as large carnivores hunted for prey along the edge of the lake. In particular, large carnosaurs trapped groups of coelurosaurs and ornithopods; in one instance, a carnosaur attacked an unfortunate animal, pursuing its victim along the muddy shore and causing the rest of the surrounding dinosaurs to stampede in panic. And although there is no longer a large lake with carnivorous dinosaurs, the area still holds a bit of danger. Because of the rough terrain, it is not easy to reach this park.

How do paleontologists determine speeds of dinosaurs using the trackways?

Although it is difficult to tell the type of dinosaur that made a track, scientists can tell the relative speed of the animals as they moved along the trackways. By measuring the distance between the footprints and the size of the tracks, they can tell that some dinosaurs ran much faster than first assumed. In other words, these tracks show that the old idea that dinosaurs were slow and sluggish wasnt always true.

What are some calculated speeds of dinosaurs?

Using measured stride and footprint lengths, scientists have calculated the speeds of over 60 dinosaur species. One of the real life factors to remember while doing these calculations is the gait of the dinosaurs when they made the tracks. The difference between walking and running and the transitions between these movements had to be kept in mind. Another factor was the actual leg bone lengths of the dinosaurs, which helped determine the reasonable speed types for the various dinosaurs. For example, the similar lengths of the femur and tibia bones in the legs of a Tyrannosaurus rex suggest a slower attainable speed than that of the Ornithomimids, which had a shorter femur and longer tibia. With all these caveats in mind, some examples of the calculated speeds of dinosaurs include:

Dinosaur Speeds

Dinosaur

Maximum Speed (mph/kph)

Ornithomimids

37/60

Small theropods and ornithopods

25/40

Ceratopsians

16/25

Large theropods, ornithopods

12/20

Sauropods

7.5-11/12-17

Armored dinosaurs

(e.g., ankylosaurs, stegosaurs)

4-5/6-8

Humans can run at speeds of about 14 miles (23 kilometers) per hour.

 
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