Of course, an animal’s evolution and specialized structures still need to be considered. For example, while a human weighs around the same as a cheetah, the spotted creature runs almost three times faster than us.
The formula is k=cMd-1 (k is the acceleration constant and M is the body mass). Once the researchers have the animal’s mass and the medium it travels through (ie. air, land, water), they can then predict its speed.
Such research could be used to estimate the speed of extinct species, such as dinosaurs. For example, the researchers predict that the Tyrannosaurus rex was slower than the Velociraptor – 27 and 54 kilometers per hour (17 and 33 miles per hour), respectively. That puts Tyrannosaurus rex at 1mph slower than Usain Bolt.
While some researchers are asking for more evidence of the formula's efficacy, it is at the very least a good starting point.
Lead author Myriam Hirt added: "This means that in future, our model will enable us to estimate, in a very simple way, how fast other extinct animals were able to run."