The Sciences

Would Usain Bolt Beat This 'Jurassic Park' Dinosaur in a Race?

A physics professor’s playful question pits the world’s fastest human against the prehistoric predator Dilophosaurus.

By Alex OrlandoApr 7, 2022 6:00 AM
Dilophosaurus
(Credit: Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock)

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If you were just going by the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, you might think that the dinosaur Dilophosaurus was pretty spry. In a now-infamous — and scientifically dubious — scene, the Early Jurassic predator dodges behind a tree while playfully evading one of the film’s villains. Moments later, it darts up a stream of cascading water before unfurling its vibrant neck frill and spitting venom in the man’s face.

Paleontologists know that Dilophosaurus didn’t have colorful neck frills, nor did they spew black goo to subdue their prey. And while the double-crested creature is depicted as roughly human-sized on screen, it actually weighed a whopping 900 pounds and spanned more than 20 feet in length some 190 million years ago. Still, the filmmakers may have been onto something regarding the therapod’s agility; thanks to its powerful legs, it could reach speeds up to 20 mph.

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