Proteins in '2-Billion-Year-Old' Rock | The Institute for Creation Research

Proteins in '2-Billion-Year-Old' Rock

Rock researchers highly regard Ontario's Gunflint chert for its fresh-looking microfossils. Long ago, the chert's microcrystalline quartz grains embedded microscopic single-celled creatures, including algae. A research team used new techniques to analyze the chemicals inside these fossil cells. They found protein remnants where they should no longer exist—given these rocks' vast age assignment.

The team of French scientists partnered with UCLA ion-microprobe specialist Kevin McKeegan to publish in the online journal Nature Communications.1 Their investigation of tiny algae cells revealed remnants of original biochemistry despite their evolutionary age assignment of 1.88 billion years.

Microprobe analyses gathered information from organic microfossils collected from five different outcrops of the same rock layer. The study authors wrote, "In fact, despite the 1.88-Gyr-long geological history that they experienced, Kakabeka Falls [outcrop] and Schreiber Beach [outcrop] organic microfossils exhibit C- and N-XANES spectra sharing strong similarities to those of modern cyanobacteria and modern micro-algae."1 They apparently used the word "despite" to acknowledge the disparity between the rocks' evolutionary age expectations and the presence of original biochemicals.

Many chert-rich rocks experienced temperatures high enough to bake any biochemicals. Heat can turn them into blackened, more-resistant compounds. But the Gunflint chert contains signs of a cooler formation history. This certainly helped convey these actual chemicals from the cells entombed so long ago until today.

The scientists used the same spectral analysis on modern photosynthetic bacteria and single-celled algae as the fossil versions, since both look so similar. In other words, it appears that none of the expected evolution has occurred across 1.88 billion supposed years.

The study authors wrote, "In addition, these microfossils still contain amide functional groups (absorption feature at 288.2 eV), which were likely to be involved in the proteinaceous compounds synthetized by the once living organisms."1 Biochemistry studies reveal that amide bonds have plenty of potential to perform spontaneous chemistry. What are the odds that these bonds completely missed almost 2 billion years' worth of opportunities to decay?

Proteins should have undergone chemical reactions with any number of nearby chemicals, totally obliterating the original proteins in far fewer than a million years. Three orders of magnitude separate protein's longevity based on repeatedly measured decay rates and the evolutionary age assignment for this deposit that houses algal protein remnants.

If the Gunflint chert was emplaced only thousands of years ago, then these dilemmas evaporate.2

References

  1.  Alleon, J. et al. 2016. Molecular preservation of 1.88 Ga Gunflint organic microfossils as a function of temperature and Mineralogy. Nature Communications. 7: 11977. 
  2.  This short time scale fits the idea that most rocks were deposited during the single Flood year, not over billions of years. Different processes in the pre-Flood world may have deposited the Gunflint chert, along with Michigan's banded iron formations and other nearby stromatolite-rich layers.

Image credit: Copyright © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. Partner of AGORA, HINARI, OARE, INASP, ORCID, CrossRef, COUNTER and COPE. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

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

Article posted on July 21, 2016.

The Latest
NEWS
Destruction of Plants Fits Flood Narrative
A recent study has found that the destruction of plants preceded the destruction of many forms of animal life in the rock record.1 This is exactly...

NEWS
No Evidence T. rex Hatchlings Had Feathers
The recent discovery of a tiny tyrannosaur jaw bone fragment and a claw has some scientists again pushing dinosaurs as birds.1 But is there...

NEWS
Inside March 2021 Acts & Facts
Why does ICR uphold the clarity of Scripture? How do we know that canyons were formed by the Genesis Flood? How do fossilized fish confirm biblical...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Spring 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Human Hands
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Dross and Dilution
The first of seven great signs of Jesus’ deity recorded in John’s gospel is the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). By the time Jesus...

APOLOGETICS
Do the Unpersuaded Have Enough Proof?
At a local Bible conference, a respected seminary professor unintentionally contradicted the apostle Paul. During the Q&A session, he opined that...

ACTS & FACTS
Gunnison's Black Canyon: The Flood Solves Mysterious Missing...
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Gunnison River winds westward from the Colorado Rocky Mountains through dry and dramatic landscapes....

ACTS & FACTS
Do We See Complex Design in Mosquito Eggs?
Mosquitoes hatch from tiny eggs and spend a few days filter-feeding on things like bacteria, pollen, and algae. They molt three times as they grow,...

ACTS & FACTS
A Texas-Size Spider Mystery
The delightfully creepy spider belongs to a class called Arachnida—which is distinct from the “bug” class Insecta. Not surprisingly,...