Settle An Argument: Running from Dinosaurs

Categories Dinosaurs

Dear Impractical Advice: Help me settle an ongoing argument with my wife: when you are confronted by a T-Rex, is your best bet standing still so the T-Rex can’t see you or running away as fast as you can?

– Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear T-Rex Dinner,

You’re both wrong. Your best bet is to use the “buddy” system where the T-Rex eats your buddy while you make your escape. That’s why Impractical Advice always hangs out with a bunch of people she doesn’t actually like.

It’s a popular misconception that a Tyrannosaurus Rex can’t see you if you just stand still. While a T-Rex’s vision has evolved to focus on movement, they’re not blind to stationary objects or else they would constantly be bumping into stuff like trees and boulders. Tyrannosaurs actually have pretty good vision and a keen sense of smell to find you whether you’re moving or not. Standing still out in the open with a T-Rex approaching is a quick way to become a dinosaur snack.

The other common myth is that T-Rex can run as fast as a speeding Jeep. The truth is that physics makes it really tough to move seven tons of dinosaur and he really runs about 12 miles-per-hour. That translates into a hundred meters in about 18.5 seconds which a healthy human can outrun. However you’ve been skipping your cardio, trying to outrun the Tyrannosaur is just going to wear you out before you get eaten.

Your biggest advantage is your brain, your endurance (if you’ve kept up with your cardio) and the fact that the T-Rex can’t change direction as easily as you can (again, physics). Some well-timed changes in direction will help you open up a lead until you can escape to cover.  

The only time you might consider standing still is if you are the slowest of you and your buddies out in the open (really regretting skipping the cardio now, huh?). A quick move out of the path of the T-Rex and then laying still while you hope the movement of your buddies sprinting away distracts the T-Rex’s attention. Worst case is you get eaten without first having to exhaust yourself.

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