January 27, 2016 3:15 pm

Carnivorous dinos developed long legs to run down prey: study

A model of "Scotty," a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in 1991 near Eastend, Sask., in the Frenchman River Valley is pictured.

Handout, Royal Saskatchewan Museum

EDMONTON — A University of Alberta study of leg length in carnivorous dinosaurs has found they evolved longer limbs so they could run faster and catch their prey.

Doctoral student Scott Persons says measurements were collected from more than 50 different species of predatory dinosaurs ranging in size from smaller than a chicken to longer than a school bus.

He says results indicate early dinosaur meat-eaters were generally slower, but evolved to become faster over time.

Persons says speed determines what prey an animal can catch, how it hunts and the environment it is most successful in.

He says fast-running animals have longer legs from the knee down.

The longer the lower leg in comparison to the upper leg, the faster the animal is.

Persons says that’s still the case today — cheetahs are faster and have longer legs than lions.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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