CURRENT STATUS: We have seen that extinct animals, such
as dinosaurs, have left a record of their movements in the
form of trackways. In addition, we have found that it is possible to distinguish
tyrannosaur tracks from those of other animals, and we have decided to use dilophosaur
trackways for our study because of the rarity of tyrannosaur footprints.
THE NEXT STEP: What we have to do now is find a modern
animal that is as close as possible to tyrannosaurs and dilophosaurs in terms of locomotion.
We want such a modern analog so that we can examine the tracks that it makes at different
speeds. Information relating speed and trackway characteristics of the modern analog can
then be applied to dinosaur trackways to estimate dinosaur speed.
What we want to find is a modern animal that walks and runs like a tyrannosaur and
dilophosaur. There are two aspects of locomotion that we need to consider. The first is
the structure and number of legs that an animal uses to walk and run; and the second is how
those legs are positioned during locomotion. We will examine these issues in this lab.
As in the case of lab #4, this lab involves several assignments. These may be accessed
by clicking on the buttons below. Note the due dates, and plan accordingly.