[N] 2002 Dinosaur locomotion from a new trackway in Oxfordshire
The Ardley Quarry in Oxfordshire, Great Brittain revealed fossilised Bathonian, Middle Jurassic dinosaur tracks that seems to give more insight in how large meat-eating theropod dinosaurs could break into a run when chasing their prey. The Ardley Quarry contains one of the most extensive dinosaur-trackway sites in the world, with individual trackways extending for up to 180 metres. Scientist have discovered a unique dual-gauge trackway from a bipedal theropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic in this locality, which indicates that these large theropods were able to run and that they used different hindlimb postures for walking and running. There findings have implications for the biomechanics and evolution of theropod locomotion.
The unique dual-gauge trackway clearly reveals the creature breaking from a walk into a run. When walking, the stride is about 2.7 metres in length, which increases to 5.5 metres at its fastest. According to Dr. Julia, J. Day from the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Cambridge the tracks also begin to look quite different. During the walking phase, the dinosaurs have splayed their feet out widely, with the toes pointing inwards, however, when the dinosaur increesed its speed then the feet were then tucked underneath their bodies, like mammals today. These tracks are possibly the first of running large or medium-sized theropods. The scientist calculated that one particular animal walked at about 7 km per hour and ran as fast as 30 km/h.
Day, J.J., Norman, D.B., Upchurch, P. and Powell, H.P. (2002)
Biomechanics: Dinosaur locomotion from a new trackway Nature 415, 494 - 495