Microceratops measured just 76 cm in length.
It had a hip height of 30 cm and a stride length of 46 cm.
Was it walking, running or trotting?
Stride Length 46 cm ÷ Hip Height 30 cm = 1.53
As this value is less than 2.0, it was walking.
Velociraptor footprints are typically 18 cm long. What is
the hip height of the animal? Stride length in a trackway
is 250 cm. Was Velociraptor walking, trotting or running?
Hip height = 18 cm x 4 =72 cm
Stride length 250 cm ÷ Hip height 72cm = 3.47
Value is over 2.9, therefore it was running.
Footprints measure 51 cm in length. What was the head
to tail length of the animal? What other measurement
is needed to find out how fast it was moving?
Length of animal 51 cm x 10 = 5.1 metres
Need to know the stride length to
calculate speed and type of movement
Could reach running speeds of 35 mph
Value for its Stride length ÷ Hip height likely to be?
If slowed to a walk would stride length be shorter/longer?
Stride length ÷ Hip height value would be greater than 2.9
If it slowed to a walk, then stride length would be shorter
Calculating how fast Dinosaurs Moved 1
Footprint Length (Measured from Trackway)
Leg Length (Hip Height) = 4 x Footprint Length
Stride Length (Measured from Trackway)
Relative Stride Length = Stride Length ÷ Leg Length
Calculating how fast Dinosaurs Moved 2
Dimensionless Speed is based on the fact that
upright tetrapods (humans are bipedal tetrapods)
regardless of size move in the same way.
Dimensionless Speed (DS) = (Relative Stride Length-1) ÷ 1.1
Relative Stride Length (RSL) = 1.1 x DS + 1
Calculating how fast Dinosaurs Moved 3
For calculating the speed of dinosaurs:
Speed = √ (Leg Length x g) x DS
G = 9.8 m/s
Complete the Table below using the
formulae given on the previous slides
Hadrosaur 0.3 1.4
Struthiomimus 0.23 1.2
Velociraptor 0.25 1.34
Euoplocephalus 0.40 2.72
Stegasaurus 0.35 1.87
Sauropodamorphs up to 5 (walking speed of people)
Stegosaurs and Ankylosaurs walked 6-8
Sauropods walked 12-17, with max of 20-30
Large Theropods (T. rex) and Ornithopods to 20
Ceratopsians 25, Small Theropods, Ornithopods 40
Ornithomimids up to 60
Humans run up to 23 (fast sprinting speed)
Using Alexander's equations, the follow speeds (km/h)
were calculated by R. A. Thulborn (1982, Australian)
100 Ma this area was a mudflat on the edge of a lake
What do you think the footprints shown in
Map 1 tell you about the two dinosaurs?
What happened to the 2 dinosaurs where the
ground is hidden by the buildings in the east?
What evidence in support of your ideas
would you expect to see when more of
the footprints have been uncovered?
Suggested Answers – Map 1
1. The large dinosaur caught the small dinosaur and ate it
Evidence: Signs of a struggle in the mud with footprints
overlapping and the mud disturbed
2. The small dinosaur was joined by others in the pack
and they all attacked the large dinosaur
Evidence: Same as above but with more small footprints
3.Both dinosaurs were moving towards the same spot,
maybe towards prey they both wanted
Evidence: If the prey was alive, there would be signs of a
struggle. If dead no sign of a struggle, maybe fossil bones
Suggested Answers – Map 1
4. This is a lake and they were both going to have a drink
Evidence: Both sets of footprints stop as the dinosaurs
reach water. There are more footprints as they walk
5. A baby dinosaur joined its mother
Evidence: Both sets of footprints join and they continue
6. The large footprints cross over the smaller ones or vive
versa, so they did not walk here at the same time
Evidence: Larger footprints would cover the smaller ones
or vice-versa and would have probably smudged them
Suggested Answers - Map 1
7. Both dinosaurs were walking on the mudflats but
were not interested in each other
Evidence: The footprints continue towards the east and
show no relationship towards each other
Excavations continue and more footprints are revealed
Which of your previous ideas fits the new evidence?
What happened to the 2 dinosaurs in the ground
which is still hidden by the old buildings in the east?
What evidence in support of your ideas would you
expect to see when more footprints are uncovered?
Why do you think the dinosaurs came
to this mudflat in the first place?
Suggested Answers - Map 2
1. The larger dinosaur walked away having killed and
eaten the smaller one
Evidence: Only the large footprints would be seen and
would be more closely spaced showing the dinosaur to
be more sluggish than it was before
2. More small dinosaurs joined the struggle and killed
the large dinosaur
Evidence: More small footprints would be seen coming
to the site and only these would be seen leaving
Suggested Answers - Map 2
3. Both dinosaurs walked away
Evidence: Same 2 sets of footprints would be seen
leaving. If they had fought, there may have been injuries
and evidence for this in the footprints
4. The fight continued to the east and both dinosaurs
died in the fight leaving their remains
Evidence: There would be more signs of a struggle but
fossil bones of the two animals would also be found
(unless they were later scavenged)
5. The fight attracted lots more dinosaurs
Evidence: There would be lots of different footprints all
overlapping each other
Excavations are complete and more footprints are revealed
Which of your ideas best fits the new evidence?
Does this evidence change your ideas about why
the dinosaurs came to the mudflat? If so, why?
Suggested Answers - Map 3
Carnivores came to the lake to drink and search for prey
Herbivores came to the lake to drink and graze
Map 3 does suggest that the dinosaurs did come to
the mudflat to search for prey. There is no evidence that
they came to drink as well, but it is likely that they did