T-Rex was a power-walker not a sprinter, AI study concludes

The Tyrannosaurus-Rex was, no doubt, one of the largest beasts to ever walk around on two legs. Questions remain, though, about how quickly it could move; were those legs similarly capable of running, and if so, how fast could this dinosaur move? The topic has been studied extensively, but answers are still forthcoming. In the latest study, researchers used a multi-physics approach to reconstructing the dino's locomotor abilities, and the results are surprising.

As it stands, no one has been able to tell us if the T-rex was capable of running and if so, at what speed it topped out. Some have claimed that the dinosaur was capable of moving rapidly while other studies have found the opposite, indicating the dinosaur wasn't able to move very quickly at all. Those assessments were made using biomechanical models, though, which the researchers behind this latest study say presents some problems.

For one thing, biomechanical models are dependent on part in using soft tissue parameters, something this is 'almost never preserved in dinosaur fossils,' according to the study. For this reason, such models can offer up broad ranges for speed, but they remain imprecise. That is, the best they can offer is an estimate. Those estimates have put the T-rex's maximum speed at everything from about 11MPH to about 34MPH.

This time around, researchers used a multi-physics system which included looking at the T-rex's skeletal loading and using machine learning to determine the creature's muscle activation patterns. Whereas the aforementioned biomechanical models left room for a broad range estimate, this multi-physics approach requires that possibilities satisfy all necessary criteria, resulting in a far more narrow array of speeds.

The researchers created simulations of the T-rex both walking and running, an example of which you can see above. According to the researchers, the 'analysis demonstrates that T. rex was not mechanically capable of true running gates,' the reason being that peak load at running demonstrates the creature's skeletal system wouldn't have been able to handle the load. All of that's to say, the T-rex could probably walk very quickly but not actually run.