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T. Rex Slowing Down These Days

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

In 2005, the scientific world celebrated the 100th anniversary of the initial description and naming of the fearful reptile, Tyrannosaurus rex (see Harrub, 2005b). Evolutionists are aware of the immense appeal of this most famous of all dinosaurs, and are eager to use it and over 900 other dinosaurs to make the theory of evolution appealing to audiences of all ages (e.g., “Jurassic Park...,” 2000). Evolutionary scientists consistently ignore the overwhelming evidence that establishes the historical coexistence of dinosaurs and humans, choosing instead to blindly propagate the idea that dinosaurs became extinct millions of years prior to the arrival of mankind (see Harrub and Thompson, 2003; Harrub, 2005a). Therefore, it is unlikely that any news about the physical structure of T. rex will be sufficient cause for evolutionists to recant. However, it is worth noting that current scientific evidence continues to bolster the case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans, and weaken the evolutionists’ conclusions concerning these “terrible lizards.”

One of the arguments for the evolutionary historical framework is that dinosaurs, being large and ferocious, would have been untamable, terrifying, and would have destroyed all humans, had the two groups been contemporaries. Humans and dinosaurs, some assert, are so infinitely incompatible that it is impossible to imagine that the two ever coexisted. John Clayton went so far as to assert that “[i]t is ludicrous to suggest that man cohabited with the dinosaurs” (1991, p. 37). Clayton further stated that “[m]an could not have lived in a world full of dinosaurs” (1990, p. 14). By noting the many existing animals that possess the power to terrorize and destroy human life, Lyons and Thompson demonstrated the legitimacy of the claim that dinosaurs and humans could have inhabited Earth at the same time (2005). The modern presence of Komodo dragons weighing 100 pounds, elephants weighing 11 tons, and whales weighing 200 tons, makes the claim that dinosaurs could not have lived with humans seem ridiculous. Also militating against the evolutionists’ position on this point is the fact that many dinosaurs were surprisingly less threatening than popular portrayals indicate. Many dinosaurs were small. And now, it appears, a crown jewel in the collection of evolutionary propaganda tools has suffered a severe setback.

New research suggests that Tyrannosaurus rex was a less imposing predator than previously thought. According to National Geographic,

The so-called king of dinosaurs has been buffeted in recent years by accusations of being a scavenger and a slowpoke.

Now a U.S. team suggests that T. rex also weighed considerably more than some experts had believed, took up to two seconds to turn 45 degrees, and is unlikely to have exceeded speeds of 25 miles (40 kilometers) an hour....

The study, led by biomechanics expert John Hutchinson while at Stanford University in California, is reported in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Building on previous work into the dino’s biomechanics, the new findings challenge the perception that T. Rex was an athletic super-predator capable of running down fast, agile dinosaurs (Owen, 2007, parenthetical item in orig.).

Owen also noted that prior guesses at the speed and agility of the dinosaur were not based on computer modeling systems. “We now know that a T. rex would have been front-heavy, turned slowly, and could manage no more than a leisurely jog,” Hutchinson, the lead study author, said (quoted in Owen, emp. added). Hampered by a long tail and heavy body, T. rex would have taken one to two seconds to make a quarter turn—far slower than a human (“T. rex Was...”).

The study further undermines the idea that T. rex could reach speeds of 45 miles per hour, as Hollywood has depicted. Roach reported for National Geographic:

“Large animals need a larger fraction of their body mass as leg muscles in order to do the same things that smaller animals can do, but there is a limit to how large that fraction can be,” said John Hutchinson, co-author of the paper and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Biomechanical Engineering Division at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

At 13,228 pounds (6,000 kilograms), T. rex was over that limit, he said. So, too, were some of T. rex’s potential prey, such as Edmontosaurus (large duckbill) and Triceratops (horned dinosaur) (2002, parenthetical items in orig.).

This is a strikingly different conception of T. rex than most scientists previously held.

Paul Barratt, dinosaur researcher at London’s Natural History Museum, said of T. rex: “Whether or not it was running after its prey at high speeds, it would still have been pretty awesome, I think” (quoted in Owen, 2007). Hutchinson’s team agrees, saying its weight and speed findings may also apply to other large dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Edmontosaurus, which T. rex is known to have eaten (Owen). Evidently, Tyrannosaurus rex fed on other large, lumbering animals, not smaller, quicker beasts. These studies suggest that humans living anywhere near a Tyrannosaurus rex habitat could have avoided winding up as the predator’s lunch. The new data concerning T. rex fits perfectly with the biblical understanding that God created dinosaurs and humans on the very same day (Genesis 1:24ff.).

REFERENCES

Clayton, John N. (1990), Dinosaurs—One of God’s More Interesting and Useful Creations (South Bend, IN: Privately published by the author).

Clayton, John (1991), Does God Exist? Christian Evidences Intermediate Course, Teacher’s Guide.

Harrub, Brad (2005a), “Soft Tissue from a Dinosaur?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/304.

Harrub, Brad (2005b), “T. Rex Anniversary and Newsweek,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/307.

Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), “Walking Amidst the Dinosaurs,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/15.

“Jurassic Park and the Lost World” (2000), Universal Studios, [On-line], URL: http://jplw.jurassicpark.com/.

Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2005), “Dinosaurs and Humans—Together?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2704.

Owen, James (2007), “T. Rex Was Slow-Turning Plodder, Study Suggests,” National Geographic News, [On-line], URL: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/06/070607-trex-dinosaur.html.

Roach, John (2002), “Tyrannosaurus Rex Was a Slowpoke,” National Geographic News, [On-line], URL: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0226_0227_trex.html.

“T. rex Was ‘Slow-Turning Plodder’,” (2007), BBC News, [On-line], URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6720461.stm.




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