Dinosaur Soft Tissue Issue is Here to Stay | The Institute for Creation Research
Dinosaur Soft Tissue Issue is Here to Stay

In recent decades, soft, squishy tissues have been discovered inside fossilized dinosaur bones. They seem so fresh that it appears as though the bodies were buried only a few thousand years ago.

Since many think of a fossil as having had the original bone material replaced by minerals, the presence of actual bone--let alone pliable blood vessels, red blood cells, and proteins inside the bone--is quite extraordinary. These finds also present a dilemma. Given the fact that organic materials like blood vessels and blood cells rot, and the rates at which certain proteins decay, how could these soft tissues have been preserved for ten thousand, let alone 65 million or more, years?

These soft tissues have met with hard resistance from mainstream science, and some scientists have even discounted or ignored them. But fresh studies keep finding fresh tissue, making the issue difficult to dismiss. Either the vast evolutionary ages assigned to these finds are dramatically erroneous, or "we really don't understand decay" rates of the soft tissues and proteins.1

Paleontologists who have analyzed the tissues, visible through their microscopes and squeezable with their tweezers, insist that something is fundamentally wrong with laboratory data on biochemical decay rates.2 In turn, biochemists are confident that their repeatable experiments show that the soft tissues should not be there after all this time. To try to get around the hard facts of soft tissues, some scientists have even proposed that the blood vessels and red blood cells in question were bacterial slime. This was thoroughly refuted, however, by research showing that the dinosaur tissue contains a collagen protein that bacteria do not produce.3

This dilemma between the science of biochemistry and the belief in millions of years is not going away. In addition to the well-characterized tissues from a T. rex reported by paleontologist Mary Schweitzer in 1997,4 2005,5 and 2007,6 new soft tissue finds keep surfacing. Schweitzer published a report on another sample in Science in 2009,3 this time from a hadrosaur, in which the precise characteristics of dinosaur biochemicals were verified by a third party. This was necessary to confirm the reality of the soft tissues to an incredulous scientific community. (Similarly, Schweitzer's 2007 results have also been verified.7)

Yet another hadrosaur has been described by UK scientists as "absolutely gobsmacking."8 Its tissues were "extremely well preserved" and contained "soft-tissue replacement structures and associated organic compounds."9

Schweitzer's team recently concluded that "the most parsimonious explanation, thus far unfalsified, is that original molecules persist in some Cretaceous dinosaur fossils."3 But biochemical decay rates showing that soft tissues would be dust after all this time are also thus far unfalsified (i.e., have not been disproved). Therefore, the millions-of-years age assignments must go.

However, if the deep time goes, then so does the grand story of evolution that depends on it. For many, that is too sacred an assumption to dare alter. Biblical data, however, not only provide the timeframe for the death of these dinosaurs in Flood deposits a few thousand years ago, but also a mode of deposition in agreement with observable data that their demise occurred when they "fell into a watery grave."8

References

  1. Fields, H. 2006. Dinosaur Shocker. Smithsonian magazine online. Published May 2006, accessed July 20, 2009.
  2. For example, see Bada, J. L., X. S. Wang and H. Hamilton. 1999. Preservation of key biomolecules in the fossil record: current knowledge and future challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 354 (1379): 77-87.
  3. Schweitzer, M. H. et al. 2009. Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis. Science. 324 (5927): 626-631.
  4. Schweitzer, M. and T. Staedter. 1997. The Real Jurassic Park. Earth. 6 (3): 55-57.
  5. Schweitzer, M. et al. 2005. Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex. Science. 307 (5717): 1952.
  6. Asara, J. M. et al. 2007. Protein Sequences from Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus Rex Revealed by Mass Spectrometry. Science. 316 (5822): 280-285.
  7. Bern, M., B. S. Phinney and D. Goldberg. 2009. Reanalysis of Tyrannosaurus rex Mass Spectra. Journal of Proteome Research. Published online July 15, 2009.
  8. Mummified dinosaur skin yields up new secrets. The University of Manchester press release, July 1, 2009.
  9. Manning, P. L. et al. 2009. Mineralized soft-tissue structure and chemistry in a mummified hadrosaur from the Hell Creek Formation, North Dakota (USA). Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online before print, July 1, 2009.

Image Credit: Christian Darkin / Photo Researchers, Inc.

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

Cite this article: Thomas, B. 2009. Dinosaur Soft Tissue Issue Is Here to Stay. Acts & Facts. 38 (9): 18.

The Latest
ACTS & FACTS
Honoring Pioneers of Creation
It’s always fun to catch up with old friends. We recently asked some pioneers of the creation movement to share with us where they are in their...

ACTS & FACTS
Henry M. Morris and Duane T. Gish: Advancing the Cause of Christ
    The following excerpts by Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish were taken from the first issue of the Creation-Science...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Don DeYoung
I first met Dr. Henry Morris in 1973 when he spoke in chapel at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. With a growing interest in creation studies,...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Larry Vardiman
Larry and Jeannette Vardiman   During my second year in graduate school at Colorado State University, I received a phone call...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer David Coppedge
David Coppedge   I’ve lived in Santa Clarita, California, since 1992, but I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. My parents...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Russell Humphreys
Russell Humphreys   After I retired in 2008 from being an associate professor for the Institute for Creation Research, I moved...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer Gary Parker
Gary Parker   In rural south Florida where I grew up (Arcadia, DeSoto County), where my wife, Mary, and I had the first of our...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer John Baumgardner
My wife, Mary, and I currently live in central Virginia near Lynchburg and Liberty University, where I serve as research professor emeritus in the School...

ACTS & FACTS
John C. Whitcomb: God’s Providence and The Genesis Flood
John C. Whitcomb   John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris published The Genesis Flood in 1961. For the first time, a book presented...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Pioneer John Morris
Several years have passed since I retired from the Institute for Creation Research. Let me emphasize “retired.” I didn’t leave ICR....