Donald Henderson’s walking dinosaurs

Donald Henderson, now at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, developed a new way of looking at the locomotion of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts while he was in Bristol. This work formed the basis of his PhD.

Donald’s technique is mathematical, involving modelling each leg segment as a separate pendulum, and calculating its movements continuously. What you see here are not cartoon animations; each move is calculated from first principles, using differential equations.

Look at Donald Henderson’s amazing animations. Note that it may take a few seconds for all 10-15 frames to load up, and then the beast will start to walk!



Read more

  • Henderson, D.M. 2003. Footprints, trackways, and hip heights of bipedal dinosaurs – testing hip height predictions with computer models. Ichnos 10, 99-114.
  • Henderson, D.M. 2012. Engineering a dinosaur. In: The Complete Dinosaur, 2nd edition. Edited by: M.K. Brett-Surman, T.R Holtz, Jr., and J.O. Farlow. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp 637–665.
  • Henderson, D.M. 2006. Burly gaits: centers of mass, stability and the trackways of sauropod dinosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26, 907-921.