On the Race Track: Revealing the Top 10 Fastest Dinosaurs

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 24th September 2023

fastest dinosaurs

Of all the prehistoric animals to have ever existed, dinosaurs are some of the most popular, primarily because of their size.

With their massive size and awe-inspiring presence, these prehistoric reptiles ruled the Earth for millions of years.

Although their size was the primary reason for their popularity, dinosaurs were also famous for several other abilities.

In other words, in addition to their enormous size, dinosaurs also demonstrated a variety of other adaptations, such as tremendous speed.

Although not all dinosaurs had the gift of speed, there were several that did. 

In many aspects, dinosaur survival and success depended heavily on speed.

While some dinosaurs were large and powerful, others lived in habitats that required agility and quickness to survive.

Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Plush Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Plush Collection

For instance, their speed was a vital asset in the case of capturing prey.

Their capacity to swiftly narrow the distance between predator and prey improved their hunting success rates and guaranteed a continuous food supply.

For the smaller ones or the herbivores with speed, their speed also made it easy for them to escape their predators.

Speed also allowed dinosaurs to switch between different habitats, enabling them to efficiently traverse various terrains.

This adaptability granted them increased chances of survival when faced with environmental shifts, such as changing climates or the emergence of new ecosystems.

Keep reading this article to discover some of the fastest dinosaurs ever.

How We Came Up With This List

Who’s the fastest dinosaur? | Orla via Getty Images

In order to create this list of the fastest dinosaurs, researchers looked at fossil records and studied how different dinosaur species were built.

They determined which dinosaurs had the highest muscle mass, fastest legs, and most efficient skulls for aerodynamic purposes.

All of these factors contributed to their speed potential.

The researchers then compared fossils from over a dozen species and used computer simulations to measure and record the top speeds each species could reach.

This data was then compiled into a list of the fastest dinosaurs, from the slowest to the fastest.

The results showed that some species could reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour!

A Tyrannosaurus rex chases three small compsognathus dinosaurs
A Tyrannosaurus on the hunt – LindaMarieB via Istock

Despite their size and weight, these incredible animals were capable of incredible feats of speed.

The researchers also looked at other factors such as habitat, diet, and behavior to gain an understanding of how each species used its speed.

For instance, some dinosaurs may have used their speed to chase down prey or escape predators.

Others were possibly built for endurance running so they could cover large distances without tiring quickly.

Knowing more about the context in which these amazing animals lived can help us better understand them and appreciate their impressive capabilities.

10. Utahraptor

Utahraptor | Elenarts108 via Getty Images
Name MeaningUtah Plunderer
EraMesozoicEarly Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height1.4 to 1.7 meters (4.59 to 9.58 feet)
Length3.0 to 3.5 meters (9.8 to 11.5 feet)
Weight100 kilograms (220.5 lbs)
LocationAlberta, Canada (North America)

With its remarkable size, razor-sharp claws, and predatory instincts, the Utahraptor ruled the ancient landscapes during the Early Cretaceous period, approximately 125 million years ago.

There is continued conjecture about the Utahraptor’s peak speed and agility, even though its enormous size and predatory prowess are widely recognized.

The Utahraptor was a member of the theropod dinosaur family and had a very light body for a creature of its enormous size.

It had a long, thin body, strong hind limbs, and a rigid tail, which enhanced its agility and provided for swift movement.

The Utahraptor’s legs were also very important for enabling quick mobility.

The enlarged metatarsal bones in its feet provided stable platforms for launching forward, while its long femur bones supplied leverage and enabled tremendous leaps.

Additionally, the presence of hollow bones lightened the dinosaur’s total load, which increased its capacity for speed.

Experts put this dinosaur’s average speed at 32 kilometers per hour.

9. Compsognathus

Compsognathus | Elenarts108 via Getty Images
Name MeaningPretty Jaw
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height0.2 to 0.3 meters (0.66 to 0.984 feet)
Length0.65 to 1 meter (2.13 to 3.28 feet)
Weight2.5 to 3 kilograms (5.51 to 6.61 lbs)
LocationFrance, Germany, Portugal

Compsognathus, meaning “elegant jaw,” was a small theropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, approximately 150 million years ago.

Commonly called one of the world’s smallest dinosaurs, the Compsognathus measured around seven pounds and reached just over four feet in length.

Like many lightweight dinosaurs, the Compsognathus’ had physical traits that were altered to increase its speed and agility.

Its slim body, extended hindlimbs, and long tail helped to speed up its movements.

Also, its bones were hollow and thin, helping to lose weight while still being structurally sound.

By analyzing the limb proportions and functional morphology of Compsognathus, researchers have proposed speed estimates of 40 kilometers per hour.

Beyond its physical attributes, the total speed of Compsognathus holds behavioral significance.

The dinosaur’s speed would have helped it utilize resources more effectively, fill various ecological niches, and escape conflict with more powerful predators.

It could have used its mobility to go over challenging terrain, looking for safety and prey.

8. Coelophysis

Coelophysis | MR1805 via Getty Images
Name MeaningHollow Form
EraMesozoic – Late Triassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height0.6 to 1 meter (1.97 to 3.28 feet)
Length2 meters (6.56 feet)
Weight18 to 27 kilograms (39.68 to 59.52 lbs)
LocationSouth Africa, USA, Zimbabwe, Texas, China

The Coelophysis, meaning “hollow form,” was a dinosaur that inhabited the Pangaea supercontinent approximately 215 million years ago.

With an average length of 10 feet and a height of about three feet, it possessed a lightweight body designed for swift and agile movement.

Its long neck, sharp teeth, and clawed hands indicate its predatory nature, preying upon small reptiles and early mammals of the time.

In the cutthroat Triassic ecology, the Coelophysis’ agility and speed were vital for life.

Experts and fossil data suggest that this dinosaur may have used ambush and pursue tactics when hunting.

By comparing its anatomical features to those of modern animals, scientists estimate that this Triassic hunter could achieve up to 48 kilometers per hour.

The Ceolophysis’ anatomical adaptations for speed and agility provide valuable insights into the evolution of these characteristics among its dinosaurian descendants.

Coelophysis fossils have also been found in mass graveyards, raising the possibility that they may have engaged in pack behavior, a hypothesis supported by their social interactions and shared hunting strategies.

7. Ornithomimus

Ornithomimus | james63 via Getty Images
Name MeaningBird Mimic
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height2.4 meters (7.87 feet)
Length3.7 to 4 meters (12.14 to 13.12 feet)
Weight100 to 170 kilograms (220.46 to 374.79 lbs)
LocationNew Jersey, Mexico, Arizona, Canada

Belonging to the Ornithomimidae family, the Ornithomimus was a dinosaur with a slender, ostrich-like appearance and lightweight frame.

Its name translates to “bird mimic” due to its striking resemblance with modern-day flightless birds, particularly ostriches, and ratites.

This dinosaur was exceptionally well-adapted for swift movement, with a thin, bipedal posture and extended arms.

Rapid motions and effective energy use are made possible by the body’s lightweight design, which includes hollow bones and decreased muscle mass.

Determining the exact top speed of Ornithomimus remains complex due to the scarcity of direct fossil evidence.

However, researchers have estimated its potential capabilities through comparative anatomy, biomechanical modeling, and trackway investigations.

According to many experts who have spent time researching this species, the average speed of the Ornithomimus is placed at 50km/hr.

Unlike other dinosaurs that employed their swiftness for hunting, the Ornithomimus likely used it to escape predators.

This dinosaur had an elongated neck and a small, toothless beak, suggesting a herbivorous but possible omnivorous diet.

6. Allosaurus

Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Allosaurus Concept
Name MeaningOther Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height5 meters (16.4 feet)
Length8.5 to 12 meters (27.89 to 39.37 feet)
Weight1,500 to 2,000 kilograms (3,306.93 to 4,409.25 lbs)
LocationPortugal, Utah, Germany, Nebraska

The Late Jurassic period, around 155 to 145 million years ago, is when the Allosaurus, whose name means “different lizard,” existed.

It had a substantial body with a height of up to 40 feet and weighed between two to four metric tons.

The Allosaurus was a predator well-suited for hunting and prey capture thanks to its strong limbs, muscular physique, and keen, serrated teeth.

While it is challenging to assess speed directly from fossilized bones, biomechanical investigations offer necessary insights into the dinosaur’s locomotive capabilities.

The Allosaurus had relatively long hind limbs, indicating an adaptation for swift movement.

Based on biomechanical modeling and comparisons with extant animals, scientists estimate that the Allosaurus could achieve speeds of approximately 30 to 55 kilometers per hour.

The Allosaurus’ overall speed greatly impacted its ecological relationships and hunting tactics.

It could effortlessly chase and overcome its prey, which most likely included herbivorous dinosaurs like Stegosaurus and Diplodocus, because of its capacity for reaching high speeds.

Because of its mobility, the Allosaurus could use strategies like ambush hunting or pursuing fleeing prey, increasing its chances of making a kill.

5. Gallimimus

Gallimimus | CoreyFord via Getty Images
Name MeaningEmu Mimic
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height1.9 to 3 meters (6.23 to 9.84 feet)
Length4 to 8 meters (13.12 to 26.25 feet)
Weight200 to 400 kilograms (440.93 to 881.85 lbs)

The Gallimimus, belonging to the theropod dinosaur group, was a bipedal creature that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 70 million years ago.

With an average length of about 20 feet and a height of around 6.5 feet, the Gallimimus possessed a lightweight skeletal structure that allowed for enhanced mobility and speed.

This dinosaur also had a slender body and long, slender legs.

Gallimimus’ impressive arms were one of its most distinguishing traits.

The three-fingered hands on these long, thin forelimbs were not intended for grabbing or hunting but for balance and mobility during swift movement.

This adaptation and its strong hind limbs aided the dinosaur’s quick mobility.

As there are no living Gallimimus specimens, researchers rely on computer models, biomechanical studies, and comparisons with contemporary species to make informed estimates.

As estimated by these experts, the Gallimimus averaged a speed of 56km/hr.

This estimate considers the physical characteristics of the dinosaur, such as its leg length, body proportions, and muscle attachments, as well as the constraints imposed by its skeletal structure.

4. Velociraptor

Velociraptor | bbevren via Getty Images
Name MeaningQuick Plunderer
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height0.5 meters (1.64 feet)
Length1.8 to 2 meters (5.9 to 6.56 feet)
Weight7 to 15 kilograms (15.43 to 33.07 lbs)

A member of the theropod family, the Velociraptor was a small to medium-sized dinosaur.

Its astonishing speed was a result of a rare mix of anatomical characteristics.

Its long, thin hind limbs was the most noticeable feature of its anatomy.

TheVelociraptor could move fast because these limbs were well-suited for chasing prey or performing evasive maneuvers.

While the Velociraptor’s skeletal structure was vital in its speed, its powerful muscles were equally important.

The dinosaur’s leg muscles were strong and capable of producing a lot of force, especially those in the thighs.

The average speed of the Velociraptor remains a debate among experts, but many place the Velociraptor’s speed between 40-64 km/hr.

TheVelociraptor’s incredible speed was an essential tool in its hunting strategies.

Many believe these predators hunted in packs, coordinating their movements to take down larger prey.

Velociraptors could carry out accurate ambushes or pursue their target while combining agility and speed, overcoming them with their ferocity and sheer numbers.

3. Deinonychus

Deinonychus | MR1805 via Getty Images
Name MeaningTerrible Claw
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height1.5 meters (4 feet)
Length2.5 to 3.4 meters (8.2 to 11.15 feet)
Weight45 to 75 kilograms (99.2 to 165.35 lbs)
LocationWestern North America (USA)

The Deinonychus is a dinosaur belonging to the Dromaeosauridae family and existed during the Cretaceous period.

To understand the speed of Deinonychus, it is essential to explore its anatomy and adaptations.

This dinosaur possessed a slender, lightweight body with an average length of around 11 feet and a height of about 3.5 feet at the hip.

It was characterized by its long, muscular hind limbs, which were necessary for speed and agility.

The Deinonychus’ hind limbs were remarkably built for rapid locomotion.

The lower leg bones were elongated and fused, leveraging powerful leg muscles, and these adaptations allowed for quick acceleration and efficient running.

Despite being smaller than many other dinosaurs, the Deinonychus was fast and is believed to have moved up to 70km/hr in short bursts of sprinting.

To overpower its prey, the Deinonychus probably used a combination of stealth, collaboration, and planned strikes.

It was likely a highly competent and agile predator. In addition to its high speed, the Deinonychus probably utilized its rapid acceleration and mobility to outmaneuver its prey.

2. Struthiomimus

Struthiomimus | Photo via Dinopedia
Name MeaningOstrich Mimic
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height2.1 meters (6.89 feet)
Length2.5 to 4 meters (8.2 to 13.12 feet)
Weight150 kilograms (330.7 lbs)
LocationCanada (North America), Mexico

With its long, slender limbs, lightweight frame, and avian characteristics, the Struthiomimus could swiftly navigate its prehistoric environment.

This dinosaur measured over 14 feet in length and stood as tall as 4.7 feet at the hip, weighing between 330 and 770 pounds.

Apart from its lightweight build, another feature of this dinosaur that contributed to its speed was its elongated, slender limbs, particularly the hind legs.

These long limbs, along with a flexible ankle joint and powerful thigh muscles, provided the necessary leverage for swift locomotion.

According to experts, this dinosaur’s estimated average speed was between 50 and 80 km/hr.

As a theropod dinosaur, it likely occupied a predatory or omnivorous position in its ecosystem.

Its agility would have allowed it to efficiently pursue small prey, evade larger predators, and cover extensive distances in search of food or suitable habitats.

The Struthiomimus lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 76 to 66 million years ago, in what is now North America.

A wide variety of other dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurus rex, lived at the same time as it did.

Its quickness would have been an essential defense mechanism allowing it to thrive in competitive and dynamic habitats.

1. Dromiceiomimus

An artist’s illustration of Dromiceiomimus brevitertius | Photo via Dinopedia
Name MeaningEmu Mimic
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
Height1.4 to 1.7 meters (4.59 to 9.58 feet)
Length3.0 to 3.5 meters (9.8 to 11.5 feet)
Weight100 kilograms (220.5 lbs)
LocationAlberta, Canada (North America)

Last, but definitely not least, the Dromiceiomimus! Meaning “emu mimic,” the Dromiceiomimus is a theropod dinosaur that existed in the Late Cretaceous period.

This dinosaur reached up to 11 feet in length and six feet at the hip and was characterized by its slender, lightweight body and long, powerful hind limbs, which were crucial for its impressive speed.

Its running stride was sturdy due to its lengthy legs, fused ankle bones, and extended metatarsals.

It featured three weight-bearing toes on each foot, with the fourth and fifth toes being reduced and raised off the ground to enable effective forward motion.

Another factor that contributed to its speed was its lightweight build.

The Dromiceiomimus likely weighed between 300 to 500 pounds, a relatively modest size compared to some of its heavier contemporaries.

Due to its lean body, hollow bones, and smaller arms, it could move at higher speeds and more efficiently.

While direct measurement is impossible, researchers use modern analogs, comparative anatomy, and computer simulations to estimate the Dromiceiomimus’ top speed.

These estimations suggest that this dinosaur could have achieved speeds of up to 64 to 80 kilometers per hour. This ability made it easy for the dinosaur to evade larger predators or pursue agile prey.


In this article, we explored some of the fastest dinosaurs that ever existed.

Speed was a crucial adaptation for survival and success in the dinosaur world, allowing them to capture prey, evade predators, and adapt to changing environments.

These dinosaurs demonstrate the diverse range of adaptations for speed that existed among the ancient reptiles.

Their swift locomotion allowed them to excel in various ecological niches, whether for hunting, evading predators, or covering long distances.

Understanding their incredible speed adds to our fascination with the world of dinosaurs and the dynamic environments they inhabited.

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