Quirks & Quarks

Duck-Billed Dinosaur Was A Distance Runner

Herbivorous hadrosaurs might have been tortoises instead of hares...
They're at the post, they're off...but who would win? Niroot Puttapipat
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Herbivorous hadrosaurs might have been tortoises instead of hares.
The duck-billed dinosaur, or Hadrosaur, was a large, herbivorous creature that lived alongside Tyrannosaurs, like T-Rex, 70 million years ago. Researchers have been mystified as to how they were able to thrive in the presence of the often larger carnivorous Tyrannosaurs, while lacking big horns or spiky armoured plates for defence. But a new study by Scott Persons, a PhD student in the Department of Paleontology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, compared the hind limb muscle - the primary muscle for locomotion - of the duck-billed dinosaur to that of Tyrannosaurs. The structure of this muscle gave Tyrannosaurs a quicker gait over a short distance, while it afforded duck-billed dinosaurs a slower stride, but greater endurance. This means the duck-billed dinosaur would have been able to outlast a hungry Tyrannosaur in a chase.

Related Links

  • Research chapter in Indiana University Press book
  • University of Alberta release
  • Discovery News article

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