And the winner is . . .
John Hutchinson!

How did a large theropod such as Tyrannosaurus rex stand or move? This was the question addressed by UCMP graduate student, John R. Hutchinson, at the October 2000 meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Mexico City. By comparing character data from bones and soft tissues of extant and extinct Reptilia in a biomechanical model, John was able to reconstruct thigh muscles of T. rex in a computer model to estimate what fraction of the entire body mass would need to be leg muscles in order to support the limbs during running. It seems that an unreasonably huge fraction of the body mass would have been needed for running, and hence reconstructing T. rex as a fast runner is too speculative. His presentation earned him the Alfred Sherwood Romer Prize, recognizing John’s work as “an outstanding scientific contribution in vertebrate paleontology by a predoctoral student, . . . awarded on the basis of the scientific value of the study and the quality of the oral presentation.”
In sending our congratulations to John, the response was: “Thanks! I’m way psyched.”
  John Hutchinson
John Hutchinson relaxes with his buddy T. rex after winning the prestigious Romer Prize. (photo by Colleen Whitney)

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January, 2001