Green River Formation Fossil Has Original Soft Tissue | The Institute for Creation Research

Green River Formation Fossil Has Original Soft Tissue

The Green River Formation, a sedimentary feature of Wyoming and northern Colorado, is widely recognized for its high quality fossils of fish and other creatures. It has been dated at 40 million years and older. What are the odds, then, of original soft tissue fossils being found encased in its rock?

A new study showed that a "fossilized" lizard leg found in the formation is not made up of minerals, but instead still has the original skin and connective tissue. In a study published in the British scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, paleontologists applied a new technique that was able to detect the presence of original biomolecules such as amino acids, yet without damaging the sample.1 Prior studies relied on sample-destroying techniques, as in the case of one that sequenced proteins from hadrosaur blood vessels.2

This new study used infrared mapping, which detected light that reflected tell-tale patterns caused by organic molecules. The researchers then employed other techniques to cross-check whether or not the infrared mapping results were accurately detecting soft tissue that had not been replaced by minerals. Synchrotron rapid-scanning X-ray fluorescence detected original protein, and the results of X-ray diffraction and mass spectrometry were also consistent with this conclusion. In the end, the claim that the lizard tissue had not mineralized was thoroughly defensible.

The authors wrote:

Taken together, all the analyses performed in this study strongly suggest that the fossilized reptile skin in BHI-102B is not a simple impression, mineralized replacement or an amorphous organic carbon film, but contains a partial remnant of the living organism's original chemistry, in this case derived from proteinaceous skin.1

Of course, this result forces a re-evaluation of the fossil's evolutionary age assignment. Even when kept dry and sterile, skin cells turn to dust as their proteins spontaneously deteriorate. But this fossil lizard skin from the Green River Formation shows at most thousands, not millions, of years' worth of decay.

This particular rock formation has features that indicate it was formed when a giant inland lake catastrophically drained into the Pacific Ocean. Rapid, wholesale burial of so many fish and other creatures was necessary for their remains to have been protected from scavengers and preserved as fossils. And recent burial in water-carried sediments would have been necessary to explain the persistence of these original tissues.

This catastrophic drainage and burial surely occurred just thousands of years ago—as the original tissue in this lizard leg attests. And this would be consistent with the biblical history of a young earth.

References

  1. Edwards, N. P. et al. Infrared mapping resolves soft tissue preservation in 50 million year-old reptile skin. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online before print March 23, 2011.
  2. Schweitzer, M. H. et al. 2009. Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis. Science. 324 (5927): 626-631.

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

Article posted on May 12, 2011.

The Latest
NEWS
The Tail of Man’s Supposed Ancestors
Although it has been known for decades and despite insistence to the contrary from the evolutionary community, man—Homo sapiens—has never...

NEWS
When Day Meets Night—A Total Success!
The skies cleared above North Texas on Monday, April 8, for a spectacular view of the 2024 Great American Solar Eclipse. Hundreds of guests joined...

NEWS
The Sun and Moon—Designed for Eclipses
Before discovering thousands of planets in other solar systems, scientists tended to assume that other solar systems would be very similar to our own....

NEWS
Let ICR Help You Prepare for the Great American Solar Eclipse!
On Monday, April 8th, the moon will move directly between the earth and the sun, resulting in a total solar eclipse visible in northern Mexico, much...

NEWS
Total Eclipse on April 8th
“You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that...

CREATION PODCAST
Dismantling Evolution One Gear At A Time! | The Creation Podcast:...
The human body is a marvel of complexity and the more we learn about it, the more miraculous our existence becomes! Can evolution explain the...

NEWS
April 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down." (Psalm 104:19 NKJV) ICR April 2024 wallpaper is now available...

NEWS
Creation's Easter Message
While many Christians still consider the creation doctrine a fringe issue, a proper understanding of the Christian message finds creation at its core...

NEWS
ICR Veteran Don Barber Retires
Don Barber   After 34 years with the Institute for Creation Research, Director of Enterprise Technology Don Barber will retire...

CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
The Sanctity of Life | Creation.Live Podcast: Episode 23
Abortion is a big issue culturally and in the church. How can believers love our neighbors and act as the hands and feet of Christ when it comes...