Fresh Salamander Tissue Found in Solid Rock | The Institute for Creation Research
Fresh Salamander Tissue Found in Solid Rock

Researchers have described remarkably well-preserved tissue discovered inside a salamander fossil. The fully intact muscle tissues also had blood-filled vessels, and they had not been mineralized like most fossils. This “fresh meat” find is depicted as the “highest quality soft tissue preservation ever documented in the fossil record.”1 But given its assigned age of 18 million years old, it shouldn’t be there at all.

The fossil had been stored in Madrid’s Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales. According to the researchers’ report in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, it was “recovered during commercial mining of the oil shales at the beginning of the twentieth century and does not appear to have been treated or prepared prior to our analysis.”2

Organic materials such as muscle tissue decay in days or hours under ambient conditions, as anyone can observe by leaving a piece of steak out in the open. The fact that this tissue is still present and so well-preserved is strong evidence that this salamander died much more recently than 18 million years ago. The researchers stated that this sample provided “to our knowledge, the first record of organically preserved musculature including its sedimentological context.”2 It was found in sedimentary rock interpreted as having come from an ancient lake bed.

“The detail revealed by TEM [transmission electron microscopy] imaging unequivocally identifies the organic remains as fossilized musculature from the salamander itself.”2 Its body was outlined with a carbon tracing, indicating that it had been heated. The researchers noticed that some of the cracks between the fiber bundles were wider than those of modern specimens. These cracks most likely formed as the salamander flesh dried out, possibly from this heating event. The study also noted that the tissue preservation occurred in “the absence of protective encapsulating agents such as bone” or amber.2

On the basis of this data, the researchers predicted that more fossilized soft tissues will be discovered, especially in lake bed deposits such as this one and those of the Messel Oil Shale deposits in Germany.3 But this prediction fails to follow from the standard evolutionary assumption of deep time, since the preserved organic matter stands in contradiction to its assumed age. Fresh meat―which these authors described as “extremely decay prone”―falsifies the millions-of-years age assigned to this rock formation in Spain.

It is possible that this salamander was deposited, alongside “abundant exceptionally preserved plants and insects,”2 from a volcanic-related catastrophe that occurred near Castellon in northeast Spain and formed the Ribesalbes Lagerstatte deposit where the salamander was found. Like the Messel Shales in Germany and the Cerrejón Formation in Colombia,4 both of which also contain exquisitely preserved fossils, this geologic formation appears to have been the result of a local, post-Flood catastrophic event.

References

  1. Ancient muscle tissue extracted from 18 million year old fossil. University College Dublin press release, November 5, 2009.
  2. McNamara, M., et al. Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online before print October 14, 2009.
  3. These shales have recently yielded fossils that look fresh and young, including a whole extinct lemur-like primate and iridescent bird feathers. See Thomas, B. 2009. The Ida Fossil: A Clever Campaign for a Lackluster ‘Link.’ Acts & Facts. 38 (7): 17, and Thomas, B. Fresh Fossil Feather Nanostructures. ICR News. Posted on icr.org September 16, 2009, accessed December 2, 2009.
  4. Thomas, B. New Fossil Cache Shows Plants Haven’t Changed. ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 28, 2009, accessed December 2, 2009.

Image credit: The Royal Society (Photo used here pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107)

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

Article posted on December 11, 2009.

The Latest
NEWS
Innate Speed-of-Sound Engineering Revealed in Bats
Bats have the amazing ability to accurately and consistently detect the speed of sound.1 This enables them to employ a complex system of echolocation...

NEWS
Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis Conference Coming to Lincoln,...
Are you looking for real answers to the tough questions of faith and science? Come to the Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis Conference on June 26 at Lincoln...

NEWS
Inside June 2021 Acts & Facts
How do the Everglades illustrate Bible-affirming biology? Why do marine sponges inspire engineers? What can we learn about God’s providence from...

NEWS
Two Excuses for Human Evolution Confusion
Public school textbooks assert that apes and humans emerged from an ape-like animal, whereas Genesis 1 says that God created humans and the different animal...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Summer 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Coral Reef
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
The Legacy and Faith of a Godly Father
Good fathers serve an essential role in the family, and it’s surely fitting that we express our love and gratitude on Father’s Day. After...

APOLOGETICS
Even Seaweed Is Proof of God's Providence
Tidewater-tossed seaweeds display God’s providence.1,2 Hidden in plain view, tidewater seaweeds are spectacular exhibits of Christ’s...

ACTS & FACTS
What It Takes to Make a Cell: A Review of The Stairway to Life
Rare is the science book that can hold even an average reader’s attention. But The Stairway to Life does just that. Coauthored by biochemist Laura...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Radioisotope Dating Prove an Old Earth?
Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D.* When most people think about radioisotope dating, they think of carbon-14 (C-14), or radiocarbon...