Fossilized Brain May Give Paleontologists Headache

Who has ever heard of a fossilized brain? Few would expect such a discovery, yet it looks like that's what researchers found inside a Stone Age skull from Norway. If so, it would confirm a published creation prediction and challenge many evolutionary timescales.

Ten archaeologists have been digging out fossilized human remains from a fjordside location called Brunstad, an area that encompasses two Stone Age human encampments.1 The scientists' findings include Norway's oldest unburned skeletal remains and a skull remnant with an unexpected attachment.

University of Oslo archaeologist and Stone Age expert Gaute Reitan told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK, "Inside [the skull] is something rather grey and clay-like. You can just think for yourself what that may be."1

The team thinks they have uncovered brains inside the partially buried skull. If further research verifies this, how could brains last that long?

San Luis Obispo County residents made news in 2012 with the discovery that they'd been using a whale brain fossil as a doorstop. It was most likely mineralized. Minerals in the shape of the whale's brain would last much longer than the actual brain-tissue remains.2 Perhaps the Norway brains were mineralized as well.

In 2010, paleoanthropologists working in southern Africa exposed what they described as "hints of a potential brain remnant" in an extinct ape fossil.3 Their careful use of language may have come from doubts about brains being able to last for 1.9 million years, the ape's age assignment.

The Norwegians estimate their brain remains at 8,000 years old.

In a biblical framework, the remains from both the African and Norwegian fossil sites were buried after the Flood, and would thus be fewer than 4,500 years old. Since brains disintegrate with time like all soft tissue, older age assignments for fossil brains seem less credible.

The biblical idea of post-Flood mega-storms supplies a framework for rapid and catastrophic inundations—those unique conditions required to mineralize soft organs before the tissues disintegrate. Plus, the idea of a recent creation supplies a timeframe for ancient soft tissues to fit within their expected shelf-lives.4

In 2009, Creation Science Update reported the discovery of a fossil-fish brain. But, like the whale brain fossil, it was probably mineralized. However, that article predicted continued discovery of genuine soft-tissue fossils, saying, "It can be expected that more soft tissue fossils, including brains and perhaps visceral organs, will be found."5

One year later, scientists described a mosasaur fossil from Kansas, saying, "A previous chemical analysis of the aforementioned pigmentations, using mass spectrometry and X-ray diffraction techniques, detected sufficient amounts of iron and porphyrin-derived compounds suggestive of the presence of hemoglobin decomposition products, and thus indicative that the traces may represent residues of visceral organs derived from the decaying animal."6 In other words, they detected decayed leftovers of its internal organs that had not been mineralized.

That same year, 2010, also saw the ape brain report. Can Norwegian fossil brains now join the list of fossils that fulfil this creation prediction of discovering fossil brains?


  1. Berglund, N. Stone Age brain stuns experts. News in Posted on July 10, 2014, accessed July 15, 2014. 
  2. Thomas, B. Fossil Whale Brain Proves Paleontologist Wrong. Creation Science Update. Posted on January 27, 2012, accessed July 16, 2014. 
  3. Thomas, B. A New Evolutionary Link? Australopithecus sediba Has All the Wrong Signs. Creation Science Update. Posted on April 15, 2010, accessed July 16, 2014. 
  4. Vardiman, L. 2012. Tracking Those Incredible Hypercanes. Acts & Facts. 41 (5): 12-14. 
  5. Thomas, B. What Does It Take to Fossilize a Brain? Creation Science Update. Posted on March 11, 2009, accessed July 16, 2014. 
  6. Lindgren, J. et al. 2010. Convergent Evolution in Aquatic Tetrapods: Insights from an Exceptional Fossil Mosasaur. PloS ONE. 5 (8): e11998. 

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on July 25, 2014.

The Latest
What Will Be Your Legacy?
Hello, I'm Eileen Turner, ICR's Chief Financial Officer. As I look back to the days when my children were first interested in science, how I...

Planaria Genome Loaded with Design Evidence
The planaria, a type of flatworm, has an amazing capacity to regenerate a new body from just fragments of tissue. Its genome has just been sequenced....

Teaching Teenage Boys
Hi, I’m Steve Hopper, ICR’s Data Analyst. In just five short years, I’ll have three teenage boys asking teenage questions and thinking...

Common Design or Common Descent?
Humans’ and chimpanzees’ many similar features are presented as one of the strongest evidences for evolutionary theory. But do these...

The Holy Grail of Dinosaurs?
A recent article by a team of paleontologists, led by Hesham Sallam, of Mansoura University, Egypt, claims to have found the Holy Grail of dinosaurs...