In the new dinosaur movie, Jurassic World: Dominion , which will be released in June 2022, there is an interesting chase scene. As we have seen in the trailer, Owen Grady (played by actor Chris Pratt) rides a motorcycle while two velociraptors try to hunt him down. If this situation were to take place in reality: could Owen Grady escape? How far does a Velociraptor run?
the speedy thief
We must consider several elements that make reality very different from the fiction shown in the Jurassic Park saga. From the outset, if we look at the images from the film, we will see Velociraptor larger than it would have been in reality , when it would barely lift half a meter above the ground. But, well, if we are seeing how to escape from a dinosaur on a motorcycle, I think we already know very well in what terms we are communicating. In fact, the dinosaurs chasing Grady in the movie aren’t even Velociraptors , though their appearance is reminiscent of early models in the series. In this case, the chase is carried out by Atrociraptor marshalli .
In any case, the Jurassic Park saga recognizes that its dinosaurs are transgenic clones, with a mixture of DNA from other animals, so they are not real or, rather, realistic. Given this fictional character, what does science say about fleeing a Velociraptor on a motorcycle?
We have it easy: we could easily escape from a dinosaur riding a motorcycle. Not only that, but we already have electric scooters that are faster than a Velociraptor .
Velociraptor lived in present-day Asia about 75 million years ago until 70 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous. The Jurassic Park movies have made this species one of the best known (and feared) of all dinosaurs. Presented as ruthless killers, their terrifying claws and intelligence with which they are capable of hunting in groups, make them the worst enemies to encounter in Jurassic fiction.
But cinematographic fantasy aside, according to some hypotheses, Velociraptor could reach a speed of 40 kilometers per hour . Perhaps, if we had to start the bike and accelerate to a higher speed, we would be eaten in that time. But if he catches us rolling, any average motorcycle model could outrun Velociraptor .
Even more so with the motorcycle that Owen Grady rides in Jurassic World: Dominion . It is a Montesa Cota 4Ride , a trial motorcycle designed for excursions in the countryside that reaches a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour. Nothing to do on the part of the velociraptors that chase him. The scenes are shot in Malta and promise intense emotions and action throughout this chase through the streets of the Mediterranean island.
What was the fastest dinosaur?
A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society spoke of the speeds that dinosaurs could reach. Obviously, none come close to what our motorized machines can roll. Here is our advantage as a species: the intelligence to create technology that keeps us as the dominant animal. But, by our own means, we would run (pun intended) a serious danger in the age of the dinosaurs.
The fastest human of us all, Usain Bolt , reaches 40 kilometers per hour during the seconds that he runs at full power. Tyrannosaurus rex could reach 28.8 km/h; the Allosaurus would run at 33.6 km/h; something more the Dilophosaurus , with 37.6 km/h; but the fastest dinosaur, according to research, would be Compsognathus . This species of dinosaur, similar to a lizard, lived 150 million years ago and is the fastest biped that has ever existed. At just 3 kilos and the size of a domestic cat, Compsognathus was capable of reaching 64 kilometers per hour.
What about the rest of the animals?
Currently, the fastest biped is the ostrich. If we go to the quadrupedal animals, the speeds increase considerably, to the point of assuming a problem for us to run away from them even on a motorcycle. The gazelles of the African savannahs reach 50 km/h, surpassed by the more than 85 km/h that a racehorse can run.
Mere turtles compared to the fastest land animal: the cheetah reaches 130 km/h . And we say terrestrial because, obviously, if we look at birds, the peregrine falcon represents an evolutionary milestone due to the 389 kilometers per hour that it can reach. In this case, we could only escape, with luck, mounted on a Formula 1.
Regidor, A. 2022. La Montesa Cota 4Ride in Jurassic World Dominion, dancing with dinosaurs. solomoto.es
Scott Lee et al. 2022. Would Usain Bolt beat the dinosaur Dilophosaurus wetherilli in a 100-meter race? The Physics Teacher. DOI: 10.1119/5.0041057.
Sellers, W. et al. 2007. Estimating dinosaur maximum running speeds using evolutionary robotics. Proceedings of the Royal Society 274, 1626 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0846.