The fearsome tyrannosaurus rex likely walked at a speed slightly slower than humans, according to a new study from Vrije Universiteit’s Human Movement Sciences student Pasha van Bijlert. The reason for this slow walking speed mostly had to do with the giant dinosaur’s equally big tail, which would have swung back and forth as the creature roamed prehistoric Earth.
According to the new study, animals and humans naturally stick to certain walking speeds that are based on their resonance, which is essentially the rhythm one gets into based on their body that enables them to save energy while walking. This is why someone may find it exhausting to walk at a slower speed than usual in addition to walking faster than usual.
Humans, of course, walk on two legs and many animals walk on four legs. The T-rex, however, had a unique makeup that doesn’t fit into either category: it walked on two legs but also had a massive tail that would swing about, contributing to its resonance. This, in turn, would influence the natural, comfortable walking speed of these dinosaurs.
Using a 3D model of a T-rex located at the Dutch National Museum of Natural History, the researchers behind this study found that the giant dinosaur may have had a normal, comfortable walking speed of only around 2.9MPH, which is slightly less than the speed you likely walk at on a regular basis.
The tail would have slowed down the T-rex compared to what its comfortable walking speed would have likely been had it not had the tail. The researchers have released a 3D animation showing a T-rex moving at what may have been its normal, slow walking speed — and, well, somehow the casual pace makes the dinosaur seem even more terrifying.