T-Rex versus inertia
The mouse is quicker than the fly. The rabbit outpaces the mouse. The cheetah easily outruns the rabbit. Though size is an important factor initially, it actually becomes a handicap after a certain weight due to the principle of inertia. For example, neither a buffalo nor an elephant run faster than a cheetah. Based on this observation, scientists from the University of Jena in Germany have graphed body mass versus animal velocity on a parabolic curve. Using this model, they were able to determine the speed of certain extinct animals like the Tyrannosaurus whose maximum speed was 27 km/h. A comparison between complex biomechanical simulations confirms that the German researcher’s simple model is correct.
By Erik Freudenreich