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Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Palaentology » Carbon-14-dated dinosaur bones, non permineralized fossils, and soft tissue like proteins are evidence for young fossils

Carbon-14-dated dinosaur bones, non permineralized fossils, and soft tissue like proteins are evidence for young fossils

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Carbon-14-dated dinosaur bones, non permineralized fossils, and soft tissue like proteins are evidence for young fossils

Soft tissue cannot remain non-permineralized for  millions of years. That adds to the C14 carbon dating evidence. The best explanation is in my view that the fossils are younger than thought for a long time.

Analysis of dinosaur bone cells confirms ancient protein preservation

A team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has found more evidence for the preservation of ancient dinosaur proteins, including reactivity to antibodies that target specific proteins normally found in bone cells of vertebrates. These results further rule out sample contamination, and help solidify the case for preservation of cells – and possibly DNA – in ancient remains.

Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail

SEM images of organically preserved muscle fibres in fossils from Grube Messel.
The muscle is preserved organically, in three dimensions, and with the highest fidelity of morphological preservation yet documented from the fossil record.

All specimens are from the collections of the Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt. Samples were picked from fossils under a binocular microscope, mounted on SEM stubs, gold-coated and examined with a Hitachi S-3500N variable pressure microscope equipped with an EDAX Genesis energy dispersive spectrometer. 

Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous Bone Proteins

Low concentrations of the structural protein collagen have recently been reported in dinosaur fossils based primarily on mass spectrometric analyses of whole bone extracts. However, direct spectroscopic characterization of isolated fibrous bone tissues, a crucial test of hypotheses of biomolecular preservation over deep time, has not been performed. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous proteinaceous molecules are retained in a humerus from a Late Cretaceous mosasaur (an extinct giant marine lizard).


Journal of Paleontology, 88(2), 2014, p. 224–239

The remains of marine worms ‘dated’ at 550 million years old found in Russia have been examined by a team of researchers led by Professor Małgorzata Moczydłowska (pronounced approx. “mou-go-ZHAH-ta mo-chid-WOF-ska”) of Uppsala University, Sweden.3

The tube of S. cambriensis was flexible, as shown by its soft deformation and preservation—Moczydłowska et al., Journal of Paleontology, 2014
They found that the tube casings of the seabed worm Sabellidites cambriensis were still soft and flexible. After comprehensive laboratory analysis, the researchers assessed the seabed worm’s remains to be still composed of the original organic compounds. They ruled out the possibility of modern contaminants and of preservation by various means of mineralization. In the researchers’ own words (from their Journal of Paleontology paper):

“The Sabellidites organic body is preserved without permineralization. Minerals have not replicated any part of the soft tissue and the carbonaceous material of the wall is primary, preserving the original layering of the wall, its texture, and fabrics.”3


“The tube of S. cambriensis was flexible, as shown by its soft deformation and preservation, and composed of fibers perfect in habit and parallel arranged in sheets, and then sheets in layers.”

Within days they were covered by sediment, perhaps stirred up by a storm—Professor Małgorzata Moczydłowska

Accompanying electron microscope photographs showed these ‘perfect in habit’ fibres to be less than half a thousandth of a millimetre wide. Yet these delicate fibres are still soft after supposedly half a billion years!?

The researchers were even able to chemically tease the fibres apart for further examination, and concluded that the structure of the fossil worm tube casing is “consistent with the ß chitin tubes of siboglinid animals”.3 In other words, the same as seabed dwelling worms such as beard worms today (see photo above). Why has there been no evolution in all that (supposed) time?

Troy Lawrence Before the global flood, the canopy of water that once surrounded the atmosphere, shielded the atmosphere from UV and other high energy cosmic rays. Thus, the conversion of N2 to C14 was blocked, therefore, the atmosohere had trace amounts of C14 before the flood. And for this reason, C14 dating makes a dead creature that died with trace C14 appear much older than reality.

What are the oldest things that can be radiocarbon dated?

Anything that is less than about 50 or 60 000 years can be radiocarbon dated.

The Fossil Record: Evolution Evidence or Creation Science?
By Rory Roybal

"Carbon-14 in Coal, Diamonds and Dinosaur Fossils
Carbon-14 is often assumed to prove that the Earth is millions or billions of years old, but this is a common misconception. Carbon-14 has a short half-life less than 6,000 years, so both evolutionists and creationists agree that radiocarbon dating is only useful for dating relatively young things, thousands of years old, and is invalid for measuring alleged long ages of evolution. Items older than 250,000 years (at most) should be completely ‘carbon-14 dead’, with no carbon-14 remaining at all. Things like coal, diamonds and fossils are usually not tested for carbon dating, since coal is already assumed to be tens to hundreds of millions of years old, and diamonds are assumed to be over a billion years old. In recent years, however, a key technical advance allowed much more precise measurement of the ratio of C-14 to C-12 atoms using an ion beam accelerator and a mass spectrometer, called the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method. Using the much more precise AMS method, leading radiocarbon laboratories in the world consistently found significant amounts of carbon in coal and diamond samples. If coal or diamonds were really millions or billions of years old (as evolutionists claim), no traces of carbon-14 would have been found.
Similarly, in 1990, two dinosaur bone fragments were submitted to the Department of Geosciences at the University in Tucson, Arizona for carbon-14 analysis. One fragment was from an unidentified dinosaur, and the other was from an Allosaurus excavated near Grand Junction, Colorado in 1989. The carbon-14 analysis indicated that the dinosaur bones were between 10,000 and 16,000 years old, not 60-70 million years old as typically assumed.
To defend their long age assumption, evolutionists claim that all these samples must have been contaminated by outside carbon, but modern AMS methods eliminate the possibility of carbon contamination, and all samples from many different sources consistently showed the same results. Moreover, diamonds cannot be contaminated since they have incredibly strong lattice bonds.
C-14 in coal, diamonds, and dinosaur fossils consistently shows they are only thousands of years old, not millions of years old, revealing that evolutionary long ages are false.
Helium in Zircons
Uranium and thorium decay by emitting alpha particles of helium nuclei as they decay to lead. Analysis of helium content of zircon samples conventionally considered to be over a billion years old revealed extremely high helium retention in these crystals. Helium should have diffused out of the zircon samples very rapidly and be completely gone if the Earth were more than several thousands of years old, and it certainly could not be billions of years old. Accelerated decay in zircon samples shows the Earth and its zircon cannot be more then 6,000 years old (give or take 2,000 years), not billions of years old as conventionally assumed.

Researchers have found a reason for the puzzling survival of soft tissue and collagen in dinosaur bones - the bones are younger than anyone ever guessed.  Carbon-14 (C-14) dating of multiple samples of bone from 8 dinosaurs found in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana revealed that they are only 22,000 to 39,000 years old.
Members of the Paleochronology group presented their findings at the 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, August 13-17, a conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).
Since dinosaurs are thought to be over 65 million years old, the news is stunning - and more than some can tolerate.  After the AOGS-AGU conference in Singapore, the abstract was removed from the conference website by two chairmen because they could not accept the findings.  Unwilling to challenge the data openly, they erased the report from public view without a word to the authors.  When the authors inquired, they received this letter:

They did not look at the data and they never spoke with the researchers.  They did not like the test results, so they censored them.
Carbon-14 is considered to be a highly reliable dating technique.  It's accuracy has been verified by using C-14 to date artifacts whose age is known historically.  The fluctuation of the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere over time adds a small uncertainty, but contamination by "modern carbon" such as decayed organic matter from soils poses a greater possibility for error.
Dr. Thomas Seiler, a physicist from Germany, gave the presentation in Singapore.  He said that his team and the laboratories they employed took special care to avoid contamination.  That included protecting the samples, avoiding cracked areas in the bones, and meticulous pre-cleaning of the samples with chemicals to remove possible contaminants.  Knowing that small concentrations of collagen can attract contamination, they compared precision Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) tests of collagen and bioapatite (hard carbonate bone mineral) with conventional counting methods of large bone fragments from the same dinosaurs.  "Comparing such different molecules as minerals and organics from the same bone region, we obtained concordant C-14 results which were well below the upper limits of C-14 dating.  These, together with many other remarkable concordances between samples from different fossils, geographic regions and stratigraphic positions make random contamination as origin of the C-14 unlikely".
The theoretical limit for C-14 dating is 100,000 years using AMS, but for practical purposes it is 45,000 to 55,000 years.  The half-life of C-14 is 5730 years.  If dinosaur bones are 65 million years old, there should not be one atom of C-14 left in them.
Many dinosaur bones are not petrified.  Dr. Mary Schweitzer, associate professor of marine, earth, and atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State University, surprised scientists in 2005 when she reported finding soft tissue in dinosaur bones.  She started a firestorm of controversy in 2007 and 2008 when she reported that she had sequenced proteins in the dinosaur bone.  Critics charged that the findings were mistaken or that what she called soft tissue was really biofilm produced by bacteria that had entered from outside the bone.  Schweitzer answered the challenge by testing with antibodies.  Her report in 2009 confirmed the presence of collagen and other proteins that bacteria do not make.  In 2011, a Swedish team found soft tissue and biomolecules in the bones of another creature from the time of the dinosaurs, a Mosasaur, which was a giant lizard that swam in shallow ocean waters.  Schweitzer herself wonders why these materials are preserved when all the models say they should be degraded.  That is, if they really are over 65 million years old, as the conventional wisdom says.
Dinosaur bones with Carbon-14 dates in the range of 22,000 to 39,000 years before present, combined with the discovery of soft tissue in dinosaur bones, indicate that something is indeed wrong with the conventional wisdom about dinosaurs.
However, it has been hard to reach the public with the information.  Despite being simple test results without any interpretation, they were blocked from presentation in conference proceedings by the 2009 North American Paleontological Convention, the American Geophysical Union in 2011 and 2012, the Geological Society of America in 2011 and 2012, and by the editors of various scientific journals.  Fortunately, there is the internet.

The data: Carbon-14 in dinosaur bones

Lab/Method/Fraction (b,c,d)
C-14 Years B.P.
USA State
Hadrosaur #1
Hadrosaur #1
Triceratops #1
Triceratops #1
Triceratops #1
Triceratops #2
Triceratops #2
Hadrosaur #2
Hadrosaur #2
Hadrosaur #2
Hadrosaur #2
Hadrosaur #2
Hadrosaur #3


+ 280
+ 270
+ 90
+ 90
+ 100
31,050 + 230/-220
36,480 + 560/-530
+ 200
33,830 + 2910/-1960
+ 70
+ 140
+ 80
+ 220
+ 230
+ 170
+ 160
+ 160


(a)  Acro (Acrocanthosaurus) is a carnivorous dinosaur excavated in 1984 near Glen Rose TX by C. Baugh and G. Detwiler; in 108 MA Cretaceous sandstone - identified by Dr. W. Langston of Un. of TX at Austin.
Allosaurus is a carnivorous dinosaur excavated in 1989 by the J. Hall, A. Murray team.  It was found under an Apatosaurus skeleton in the Wildwood section of a ranch west of Grand Junction CO in 150 Ma (late Jurassic) sandstone of the Morrison formation.
Hadrosaur #1, a duck billed dinosaur.  Bone fragments were excavated in 1994 along Colville River by G. Detwiler, J. Whitmore team in the famous Liscomb bone bed of the Alaskan North Slope - validated by Dr. J. Whitmore.
Hadrosaur #2, a duck billed dinosaur.  A lone femur bone was excavated in 2004 in clay in the NW 1/4, NE 1/4 of Sec. 32, T16N, R56 E, Dawson County, Montana by the O. Kline team of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum.  It was sawed open by the O. Kline, H. Miller team in 2005 to retrieve samples for C-14 testing.
Triceratops #1, a ceratopsid dinosaur.  A lone femur bone was excavated in 2004 in Cretaceous clay at 47 6 18N by 104 39 22W in Montana by the O. Kline team of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum.  It was sawed open by the O. Kline, H. Miller team in 2005 to retrieve samples for C-14 testing.
Triceratops #2, a very large ceratopsid-type dinosaur excavated in 2007 in Cretaceous clay at 47 02 44N and 104 32 49W in Montana by the O. Kline team of Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum. Outer bone fragments of a femur were tested for C-14.
Hadrosaur #3, a duck billed dinosaur.  Scrapings were taken from a large bone excavated by Joe Taylor of Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, Crosbyton TX in Colorado in Cretaceous strata.
Apatosaur, a sauropod.  Scrapings were taken from a rib still imbedded in the clay soil of a ranch in CO, partially excavated in 2007 and 2009, in 150 Ma (late Jurassic) strata by C. Baugh and B. Dunkel.
(b)  GX is Geochron Labs, Cambridge MA, USA; AA is University of Arizona, Tuscon AZ, USA; UG is University of Georgia, Athens GA, USA; KIA is Christian Albrechts Universitat, Kiel Germany.
(c)  AMS is Accelerated Mass Spectrometry; Beta is the conventional method of counting Beta decay particles.
(d)  Bio is the carbonate fraction of bioapatite. Bow is the bulk organic fraction of whole bone; Col is collagen fraction; w or ext is charred, exterior or whole bone fragments; Hum is humic acids.
Bioapatite is a major component of the mineralised part of bones.  It incorporates a small amount of carbonate as a substitute for phosphate in the crystal lattice.
Charred bone is the description given by lab personnel for blackened bone surfaces.
Collagen: Proteins that are the main component of connective tissue.  It can be as high as 20% in normal bone but decomposes over time so that there should be none after ~100,000 years.  Yet it is found in four-foot long, nine-inch diameter dinosaur femur bones claimed to be greater than 65 million years old.  The "Modified Longin Method" is the normal purification method for bone collagen.  Dr. Libby, the discoverer of Radiocarbon dating and Nobel Prize winner, showed that purified collagen could not give erroneous ages.

[url= Abstract.pdf]Click to see the conference schedule for presentation of abstract BG02-A012 at 17:00[/url]

On the conference website, the abstract was removed from position number 5.

Click to see where it had been on the Conference website

This is what happens when you try to get members of the academic community involved:

Click to see the YouTube video

Banned by the Center for Applied Isotope Studies

From 2007 through 2011 the Paleochronology group had 11 dinosaur bone samples carbon dated by the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia, and for good reason.  Senior research scientist Alexander Cherkinsky specializes in the preparation of samples for Carbon-14 testing.  He directed the pretreatment and processing of the dinosaur bone samples with the Accelerator Mass Spectrometer, though he did not know the bones were from dinosaurs, and he signed the reports.  Carbon dating at this facility is certainly the very best.
But in 2014, someone told the director of the facility, Jeff Speakman, that the Paleochronology group was showing the Carbon-14 reports on a website and YouTube and drawing the obvious conclusions.  So when he received another bone sample from the Paleochronology group, he returned it to sender and sent an email saying: "I have recently become aware of the work that you and your team have been conducting with respect to radiocarbon dating of bone.  The scientists at CAIS and I are dismayed by the claims that you and your team have made with respect to the age of the Earth and the validity of biological evolution.  Consequently, we are no longer able to provide radiocarbon services in support of your anti-scientific agenda.  I have instructed the Radiocarbon Laboratory to return your recent samples to you and to not accept any future samples for analysis."

Notice that he did not say the radiocarbon reports of the dinosaur bone samples were inaccurate.  No, his objection was that the Paleochronology group was using the reports as evidence that dinosaurs lived thousands, not millions, of years ago.  So I asked him 3 times over 3 weeks what is the right conclusion to draw from the test results they provided us; then I asked his entire scientific staff.  None of them had an answer.
This is an attitude we have encountered among members of academia: there is an established truth, and all evidence contrary to it is rejected.  Anyone who challenges the established truth is made an enemy.
The threat hangs over everyone.  A manager of a commercial laboratory that does Carbon-14 dating, Beta Analytic Inc., reviewed a poster display of the dinosaur data and discussed it with a member of the Paleochronology group.  Her interest led us to propose that her company perform a Carbon-14 test on a T-rex bone we acquired.  She wrote back:

Bernadett Limgenco
Operations Manager - Australia and Southeast Asia
Beta Analytic Inc. 4985 SW 74 Court Miami, Florida 33155 USA

Thanks for considering our service in this project.
We wish you well in your research but must choose to opt-out of the analysis.
Since you have identified it as T-rex, and these are known to be extinct for 50 million years, it is beyond the limit of our dating.
  If a "recent" result was derived it would be universally challenged with possible risks of poor result claims for our laboratory.
This is a project much better suited for collaboration with a university laboratory.

*Radiocarbon Dating Results that Withstand the Test of Time*
BETA is an Accredited ISO/IEC 17025:2005 testing laboratory operating in conformance with ISO 9001:2008 management system requirements.  It has demonstrated both the technical competency and management system requirements necessary to consistently deliver technically valid test results.  These standards are universally recognized as the highest level of quality attainable by a testing laboratory.
Mark Armitage and the triceratops horn

Mark Armitage served as the Manager for the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Suite in the Biology Department at California State University Northridge from January 2010 to February 2013.  Mark was suddenly terminated by the Biology Department when his discovery of soft tissues in a Triceratops horn was published in Acta Histochemica.  The university claimed his appointment at had been temporary and claimed a lack of funding for the position.  This was news to him, and contradicted prior statements and documents from the university.  He is currently seeking relief in a legal action for wrongful termination and religious discrimination by California State University Northridge (CSUN).
Mark Armitage has a MS degree in biology and has been a microscope scientist (microscopist) for 30 years.  He was the president of the Southern California Society for Microscopy for several years.  He has some 30 publications to his credit.  Mark's micrographs have appeared on the covers of eleven scientific journals, and he has many technical publications on microscopic phenomena in such journals as American Laboratory, Southern California Academy of Sciences Bulletin, Parasitology Research, Microscopy and Microanalysis, Microscopy Today and Acta Histochemica, among others.  His career in teaching at educational institutions includes Master's College Azusa Pacific University and California State University Northridge.
According to papers filed with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, when Mark Armitage interviewed for an opening at CSUN for a "regular" "part-time" microscopist in 2009 he told the panel that he had published materials supportive of creationism.  William Krohmer, Manager of Technical Services and Safety, who would be Armitage's direct supervisor, was on the panel.  The panel hired Armitage despite his creationist writings because of his exceptional qualifications.  The position was Electron Microscopy Technician in the Department of Biology, working two ten-hour days per week.  He was "permanent part-time" and was allowed to enroll in the full benefits package of the university.
He ran the Microscopy Imaging Facility with its three electron microscopes, personally training students and faculty on their proper use.  He was often praised for his work and accomplishments.  The Biology Department bought a new confocal microscope that used high-powered lasers for imaging and was computer-driven.  Armitage supervised the installation of the new microscope.  He was assigned to be the only instructor on it, with responsibility for control and supervision of the instrument.
In February 2012, he was asked to teach a full graduate course in Biological Imaging for the Biology Department.  In March 2012, Dr. Steven B. Oppenheimer sent an email to staff saying that the two days per week that Armitage was working needed to be expanded in order to facilitate the growing demands of the microscopy lab.
In June 2012, Dr. Ernest Kwok was made chairman of the committee overseeing the microscopy lab, and became Armitage's new supervisor.
In the summer of 2012, Armitage responded to an invitation to participate in a search for dinosaur fossils in Glendive, Montana in the famous Hell Creek formation.  He found the brow-horn of a triceratops; it was not petrified.  Studying the horn at the CSUN lab, he discovered soft tissue in the supposedly 65-million-year-old (or more) fossil.
While teaching students how to use microscopes in the lab that he directed at CSUN, Armitage engaged them in brief socratic dialogue about the possible age of the horn.  One of Dr. Kwok's students was stunned by the discovery and implications of soft tissue in the triceratops horn, and told Dr. Kwok about it.
On June 12, 2012, Dr. Kwok stormed into Armitage's lab and shouted, "We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!", and chastised Armitage's "creationist" projects, referring to the triceratops horn.  Armitage reported this to the Biology Department chair, Dr. Randy Cohen, and to the manager of technical services for the Biology Department, William Krohmer.  They both played down the event and told Armitage to forget it.
Praise for Armitage's work continued from distinguished members of the Biology Department.  In November 2012, a photo of the soft tissue in the triceratops horn was published on the cover of American Laboratory magazine.  The former chair of the Biology Department, Dr. Oppenheimer, wrote a ringing endorsement of Armitage in a letter of recommendation.
On February 12, 2013, the journal Acta Histochemica published a paper by Armitage describing the discovery of soft tissue in the triceratops horn.  Acta Histochemica is a peer-reviewed journal of structural biochemistry of cells and tissue that welcomes advanced microscopical imaging; it has been publishing since 1954.  The current editor of Acta Histochemica is a biology professor at CSUN who was a colleague of Armitage, the esteemed Dr. Steven B. Oppenheimer.
On the day the paper was published, Dr. Kwok called a secret meeting of the committee overseeing the microscopy lab.  Armitage had served on the committee for three years, but he was not invited.  The committee decided to terminate Armitage.
On February 19, 2013, William Krohmer told Armitage that there was a "witch hunt" being mounted against him, and advised him to resign.  When he refused to resign, Krohmer told him he would be terminated.  Armitage was fired on February 27, 2013.  He was told that his job had only been a "temporary appointment".
There is an interesting sidenote to this story.  Hugh Miller, head of the Paleochronology group, obtained a bone sample from the triceratops horn Mark Armitage discovered.  The sample was sent to the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia in 2012 to test for Carbon-14.  As you can see, the bone was dated by them to 33,570 years before present.

More soft tissue

A remarkable find was published in the journal Nature in April 2013: "we report the discovery of a monotaxic embryonic dinosaur bone bed in Lower Jurassic strata near Dawa, Lufeng County, Yunnan Province, China".  The "bone bed is characterized by the presence of completely disarticulated skeletal elements at various stages of embryonic development".  "This discovery also providesthe oldest evidence of in situ preservation of complex organic remains in a terrestrial vertebrate."  "There are no preserved nest structures or uncrushed eggs."  "In contrast to previous studies of organic residues based on extracts obtained by decalcifying samples of bone, our approach targeted particular tissues in situ.  This made it possible to detect the preservation of organic residues, probably direct products of the decay of complex proteins, within both the fast-growing embryonic bone tissue and the margins of the vascular spaces."  "Previous reports of preserved dinosaur organic compounds, or 'dinosaurian soft tissues', have been controversial because it was difficult to rule out bacterial biofilms or some other form of contamination as a possible source of the organics.  Our results clearly indicate the presence of both apatite and amide peaks within woven embryonic bone tissue, which should not be susceptible to microbial contamination or other post-mortem artefacts."  -- Reisz, Robert R., Timothy D. Huang, Eric M. Roberts, ShinRung Peng, Corwin Sullivan, Koen Stein, Aaron R. H. LeBlanc, DarBin Shieh, RongSeng Chang, ChengCheng Chiang, Chuanwei Yang, Shiming Zhong. 11 April 2013. Embryology of Early Jurassic dinosaur from China with evidence of preserved organic remains. Nature, Vol. 496, pp. 210-214. doi: 10.1038/nature11978.
Radiocarbon (RC) or Carbon-14 (C-14) dating of linen, cotton, bones, fossils, wood, sea shells, seeds, coal, diamond (anything with carbon) is one of the most common and well understood of the various scientific dating methods.
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon that is formed naturally in the atmosphere.  All plants and animals have a regular intake of carbon while they are alive.  When an animal or plant dies, it no longer takes in carbon of any form.  C-14 has a half-life of 5730 years. The maximum theoretical detection limit is about 100,000 years, but radiocarbon dating is only reliable up to 55,000 years with the best equipment.  Older dates are considered to be tentative.  If, as generally believed, dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years, there should not be one atom of Carbon-14 left in their bones.
The accuracy of carbon dates depends on whether the ratio of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 was the same in the past as it is today.  Even with reliable results there is always a degree of uncertainty, and dates are usually given as +or- so many years.
There are two types of C-14 dating technologies.  The original one, counting Beta decay particles, is a multistep process and requires sample sizes of several grams.  The newer method of "Accelerator Mass Spectrometry" (AMS) requires smaller sample sizes and is more accurate.  Beta counting is prone to possible errors in each of the many phases.  AMS uses a much smaller sample size, and actually counts the Carbon-14 atoms as they are separated from the sample.  The equipment accelerates streams of charged atomic particles to high velocities in order to sort and analyze them.
Carbon-14 dating of bone is one of the most difficult tasks in carbon dating, and requires the most care of any carbonaceous material. This is mainly due to the nature of bone, which is a very porous material.  Certain parts of bone look like a sponge under the microscope.  Many dinosaur bones are hard as rock because the original material has been replaced with a silicon material such as quartz.  These are "mineralized" or "fossilized".  We have found un-mineralized dinosaur bones.  We then scrape the outer surface off to get rid of surface contamination, and date the inner remaining material.  One can date just the purified bioapatite, the total organics, or the collagen, or a combination of these, as we did in several cases.
The discovery, and later confirmation, of collagen in a Tyrannosaurus-Rex dinosaur femur bone was reported in the journal SCIENCE. This is a remarkable find because collagen, being a soft tissue present in most animals, is supposed to decay in a few thousand years.  Collagen is the main protein found in connective tissue of animals.  It can make up from 1 to 6 percent of muscle mass. Triceratops and Hadrosaur femur bones in excellent condition were discovered in Glendive Montana, and our group received permission to saw them in half and collect samples for Carbon-14 testing.  Both bones were tested by a licensed lab for presence of collagen.  Both bones did in fact contain some collagen.
The best process (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) was used to date them.  Total organic carbon and dinosaur bioapatite was extracted and pretreated to remove potential contaminants, and concordant radiocarbon dates were obtained.  They were similar to radiocarbon dates for ice-age megafauna such as Siberian mammoths, saber tooth tigers of the Los Angeles LaBrea Tarpits, sloth dung, and giant bison.  We usually prefer AMS dating because of its inherent superior accuracy, but use the conventional method when large samples are available in order to completely rule out contamination.  This is recommended by a carbon-dating laboratory specialist.
Dr. Jean de Pontcharra, one of ten co-authors and an atomic physicist retired from the Grenoble Research Center of the French Atomic Energy Commission, and Professor Dr. Robert Bennett, physicist and co-author, agree that "the AOGS-AGU assembly encourages presentation of reliable data even though the topic may be controversial.  This is a very wise policy for the advacement of science and the education of people everywhere.  Thus, we encourage our colleagues to do their own carbon dating of dinosaur bones from museums and university fossil repositories around the world, as well as testing for C-14 in scrapings from dinosaur bones as they are excavated.  We are anxious to see their results presented, just as we have done.  Also, we call on the news media and citizens everywhere to urge paleontologists, curators, university faculty, and government scientific agencies to encourage and support further testing for C-14 content in dinosaur remains.  Scientists need to know the actual chronology of the Earth and the age of the fossils."

Radiometric dating alone might provide a weak case for young fossils. But if considering it together with non permineralized fossils and soft tissue found, it provides a cumulative case.

When you get down to the bottom line, it is more than evident that radiocarbon dating is extremely limited. Only very particular objects, from very particular places, that have been pretreated, that have been compared to a calibration curve (and only fall within areas of the curve that aren’t flat), and have been dated many times to provide an error range, can be considered somewhat trustworthy findings. That is, if you overlook the shortcomings of the C14 production problem and biosphere equilibrium problem. Accordingly, these evident shortcomings need to be appreciated and a certain degree of skepticism should be maintained when reading of radiocarbon results. All too often one hears of a discovery from antiquity that has been radiocarbon dated, of which the authors conclude they now know the exact date of the finding. Yet such confidence is often unwarranted. Yes, radiocarbon is an ingenious method and noble pursuit to answer questions about our past, but it is far from perfect, and our strong desire to have absolute answers to our biggest questions will not be satisfied from overextending confidence into a constrained method simply because there is no other alternative. But until we can lay our egos aside to be comfortable with the humbling notion that “we don’t know exactly,” radiocarbon dating will remain the absolute say on exactly how old something is.

Carbon-14 Found in Dinosaur Bone 2

Seek and ye shall find: creationists boldly go where no evolutionists have gone before.
With the recent announcement of soft tissue in off-the-shelf dinosaur bones (6/09/15, 6/10/15), complete with enriched carbon, the obvious question is: does any of it contain carbon-14? Because of the isotope’s short half-life (5,730 years), no should be detectable after about 100,000 years. Finding measurable in the bones would therefore invalidate the consensus belief that dinosaurs lived and died over 65 million years ago.
Secular paleontologists consider it a waste of time to test for in dinosaur bone. There shouldn’t be any. Bones millions of years old, including those of all dinosaurs, should be “radiocarbon dead.” But like Mary Schweitzer said about soft tissue in general, “If you don’t look, you won’t find. But if you do, you never know.”
The Creation Research Society (), an organization of Biblical creation scientists since 1963, went looking. In the spring 2015 issue of their peer-reviewedQuarterly (51:4), they published a special report with results of their iDINO project: an investigation into soft tissue remains in dinosaur bones. (This issue was prepared and printed before the announcement in Nature Communications.) The bombshell announcement is that measurable has been found in dinosaur bones. Brian Thomas and Vance Nelson report:
Measurable amounts of radiocarbon have been consistently detected within carbonaceous materials across Phanerozoic strata. Under uniformitarian assumptions, these should no longer contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon. Secularists have asserted that these challenging finds originate from systematic contamination, but the hypothesis of endogenous radiocarbon should be considered. Assuming these strata were largely deposited by the Noahic Flood occurring within the time range of radiocarbon’s detectability with modern equipment under uniformitarian assumptions, we hypothesized that fossils from all three erathems, including dinosaur fossils, should also contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon. Consistent with this hypothesis, we report detectable amounts of radiocarbon in all 16 of our samples. Attempts to falsify our hypothesis failed, including a comparison of our data with previously published carbon-dated fossils. We conclude thatfossils and other carbonaceous materials found throughout Phanerozoic strata contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon that is most probably endogenous.
Thomas and Nelson began by predicting radiocarbon in dinosaur bone based on long-standing published reports of measurable radiocarbon in coal, diamonds, and other materials assumed by evolutionary geologists to be millions of years old. They gathered 16 samples from 14 fossil specimens of fish, wood, plants, and animals from throughout the geologic column, Miocene to Permian, from all three eras: Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic. Samples came from a variety of locales around the globe, including Canada, Germany and Australia.  About half were from dinosaur bones (7 specimens). All samples were prepared by standard processes to eliminate contamination, then were submitted to a lab for atomic mass spectrometry ().
Unexpectedly, all 16 samples submitted for measurement contained C-14. We found measurable amounts of 14C in all 14 of our dinosaur and other fossils. Moreover, we found surprising consistency in these data, which range from approximately 17,850 to 49,470 radiocarbon years as indicated in Figure 1.
It should be understood that “radiocarbon years” do not necessarily indicate true ages of specimens, because calibration depends on assumptions about atmospheric conditions prior to dates that can be cross-checked against archaeological records (cf. radiocarbon dating of an Iron Age pottery inscription,6/16/15). It was not the goal of the project to date the specimens, but just to see if any radiocarbon remained.
In the paper, they consider whether it was a bad day at the lab that did the testing, leading to uniformly biased results. That is highly unlikely to be the case, they argue, since four other labs have published radiocarbon presence in specimens thought to be millions of years old. Those reports compare favorably to the new results, yielding radiocarbon ages in the same finite range. Strikingly, it doesn’t matter if the specimens are labeled Cenozoic, Mesozoic or Paleozoic: each era spans the range of radiocarbon “ages” resulting from the tests.
They also considered whether groundwater might have leached carbon-14 into the samples. If so, one would expect samples from drier conditions to differ from those in wetter locales, or portions taken from the interior of a bone to differ from those closer to the exterior. No such trend was found; moreover, the dates obtained were consistent with an earlier published result from a fossil 3,000 feet below the surface, well below the water table.
Since the radiocarbon ages are orders of magnitude younger than believed, and consistent in upper and lower limits regardless of locale of assumed era, the authors conclude that all the geologic strata with their fossils must have been laid down in a short period, as described in the Genesis flood account.
The other five papers in the Quarterly augment this major new empirical test of fossil ages.
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[*]Brian Thomas surveyed reports of original biomaterial in fossils.

[*]Mark Armitage presented his results of finding soft tissue in a Triceratops horn from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana. (This is an update for a creationist journal of his earlier paper that cost him his job at Cal State Northridge; see 11/05/14.)

[*]Kevin Anderson critiqued the theory that the soft tissue is not primordial, but merely a cast made by bacterial biofilms.

[*]John M. DeMassa and Edward Boudreaux investigated processes that lead to peptide degradation.

[*]Timothy Clarey, a geologist with , described the temporal and geological characteristics of the Hell Creek Formation.

Thomas and Nelson took pains to try to falsify their own results, but some evolutionists will undoubtedly remain unsatisfied with any paper published in a creationary journal. Now that the world’s leading secular science journal Naturehas reported that soft tissue in dinosaur bones appears to be common, the race is on to find more of it. Eventually, non-creationists are bound to run their own C-14 tests to remove all doubt.
In the opening editorial, Dr. Danny Faulkner says that “it is appropriate that creationists take the lead in the study of soft tissue in fossils” given that the scientific world only “begrudgingly has come to accept” the soft tissue evidence. More work remains for the iDINO project (investigation  of Dinosaur Intact Natural Osteo-tissue), he says, and preliminary filming for a video has begun. The project is entirely funded by private donations.
Update 7/30/15: In the August issue of ’s Acts & Facts Magazine, Brian Thomas writes about how he and Nelson guarded against contamination of the samples they tested. “We also compared radiocarbon results acquired at five different laboratories, ruling out lab-induced contamination,” he says. Lab technicians know the procedures to remove contaminating carbon. The fact that radiocarbon showed up in samples from all over the world argues against localized contamination. will continue analyzing all possible sources of contamination, and will continue searching for radiocarbon in more samples.
Creation scientists take the lead! What will old-earth creationists and evolutionists do now? These findings basically collapse the entire geologic column, and destroy the evolutionary narrative of millions of years. Down go the national park signs, Hollywood movies and descriptions on museum gift shop dinosaur toys. Because so much is at stake, we can expect some evolutionists to react like velociraptors. No need to respond in kind; just hold up the results and say, “Here’s the scientific data; do you have a better theory?”
If an old-earther responds, “Yeah, but the dates don’t fit your Biblical timeline either,” stick to the point. Do the results falsify millions of years; yes or no? If the answer is yes, then the question has changed. It’s no longer about whetherdinosaur bones are young, but just how young they are. That’s an interesting and worthwhile question, but with everything from Cambrian fossils to Lucy collapsed into a timeline that is orders of magnitude younger than we have all been taught, it’s a whole new ball game now, with Charlie no longer umpiring.


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Soft tissues and carbon  in dinossaur fossils

Troy Lawrence Before the global flood, the canopy of water that once surrounded the atmosphere, shielded the atmosphere from UV and other high energy cosmic rays. Thus, the conversion of N2 to C14 was blocked, therefore, the atmosohere had trace amounts of C14 before the flood. And for this reason, C14 dating makes a dead creature that died with trace C14 appear much older than reality.

Of course since that time, many others have also dug up dinosaur soft tissue. At this point, more than thirty specimens have been discovered and tested, and the specimens have come from an impressive array of various dinosaurs…

Carbon 14, which should last 100K years at the very most, has been found in dinosaur soft tissue. C 14 has also been found in coal, gas, diamonds and many other things which are supposed to be millions of years old. There’s no explanation other than these things are young.

there is Carbon 14 in these dinosaur bones (and in oil, marble, diamonds, etc.)? Check out realsciencefriday com/dating-a-dinosaur 14c only lasts thousands (not millions) of years, and it's hard to imagine that the best labs in the world would contaminate their diamond samples by mixing their lunch carrots with the diamond carats. Also, see the link to learn why neutron capture can't explain all the modern carbon!

Mysteriously Intact T. Rex Tissue Finally Explained

Then, in 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the T. rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue was collagen, they reported in the journal Science, and it shared similarities with bird collagen — which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs such as T. rex.

The obvious question, though, was how soft, pliable tissue could survive for millions of years. In a new study published today (Nov. 26) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Schweitzer thinks she has the answer: Iron.

After death, though, iron is let free from its cage. It forms minuscule iron nanoparticles and also generates free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules thought to be involved in aging.

"The free radicals cause proteins and cell membranes to tie in knots," Schweitzer said. "They basically act like formaldehyde."

if you review the literature, you'll see that a number of dinosaur proteins have already been sequenced, including some by a team from Harvard. So far, the biological material found in fossils from dinosaur-layer strata down to pre-Cambrian include many various proteins such as the microtubule building block tubulin, collagen, the cytoskeleton component actin, and hemoglobin. They've also recovered original [dinosaur] bone maintenance osteocyte cells, flexible and transparent blood vessels, red blood cells, and powerful evidence [multiple tests, including a double-helix test] for DNA [from a hadrosaur and a T. rex].

The dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures that have yielded endogenous biological material are hadrosaur, titanosaur, ornithomimosaur [ostrich-like dinosaurs], mosasaur, triceratops, Lufengosaurs, T. rex, and Archaeopteryx.

RALEIGH—Twenty years ago, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer made an astonishing discovery. Peering through a microscope at a slice of dinosaur bone, she spotted what looked for all the world like red blood cells. It seemed utterly impossible—organic remains were not supposed to survive the fossilization process—but test after test indicated that the spherical structures were indeed red blood cells from a 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. In the years that followed, she and her colleagues discovered other apparent soft tissues, including what seem to be blood vessels and feather fibers. But controversy accompanied their claims. Skeptics argued that the alleged organic tissues were instead biofilm—slime formed by microbes that invaded the fossilized bone.

Schweitzer and her colleagues have continued to amass support for their interpretation. The latest evidence comes from a molecular analysis of what look to be bone cells, or osteocytes, from T. rex and Brachylophosaurus canadensis. The researchers isolated the possible osteocytes and subjected them to several tests. When they exposed the cell-like structures to an antibody that targets a protein called PHEX found only in bird osteocytes* (birds are descended from dinosaurs), the structures reacted, as would be expected of dinosaur osteocytes. And when the team subjected the supposed dinosaur cells to other antibodies that target DNA, the antibodies bound to material in small, specific regions inside the apparent cell membrane.

Furthermore, using a technique called mass spectrometry, the investigators found amino acid sequences of proteins in extracts of the dinosaur bone that matched sequences from proteins called actin, tubulin and histone4 that are present in the cells of all animals. Although some microbes have proteins that are similar to actin and tubulin, the researchers note that soil-derived E. coli as well as sediments that surrounded the two dinosaur specimens failed to bind to the actin and tubulin antibodies that bound to the extract containing the apparent osteocytes.

Schweitzer and her collaborators detailed their findings in a paper released online October 16 in the journal Bone and in a talk given October 17 in Raleigh at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. “Here’s the data in support of a biofilm origin,” Schweitzer said in her presentation as she showed a blank slide. “We haven’t found any yet.”

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Dinosaur Soft Tissue: Understanding Why Dinosaurs are Young


Dinosaur Soft Tissue: Understanding Why Dinosaurs are Young

Jurassic: Dinosaurs are proven young in now a vast variety of ways. Pretty much, any scientific angle you approach dinosaurs from you are going to find piles, and piles, and piles, and more piles on top of piles of evidence that dinosaurs are not just young…… but very, very, very young. All dinosaurs. In these journals, we are going to take a basic look at merely the tip-of-the-iceberg of that evidence. Though the top-spokespeople for the academic / evolution community assure me that all this evidence is “nonsense” and probably “stuff I shouldn’t be looking at”…… I disagree, and lay it in your hands to decide. In fact, the evidence for dinosaurs being young has built up to a point where many Christians and also those in Basic, Real-World, Practical Application Sciences call them, “Missionary Lizards.”
1) Dinosaur Soft Tissue, Blood, Blood Vessels, Veins….. and even DNA

First, and probably the most obvious, is dinosaur soft-tissue. Dinosaur soft-tissue is now found all over the globe…… and has been growing in finds for decades. In fact, even the Archaeopteryx (which many in the evolution circles claimed was the “absolute evidence dinosaurs turned into birds”) has now been discovered to have soft-tissue in it (meaning it’s young too). Beneath is the first find to have made national news, though certainly not the first time soft-tissue has been found in dinosaurs bones. These actual and real images of T-Rex soft tissue, blood and blood vessels shown above were discovered by a team in Montana led by Jack Horner (the original Jurassic Park movie’s technical advisor). And, Jack Horner is also the same man who promoted the idea that “dinosaurs turned into birds” to the evolution community. What is interesting about this is that Jack Horner, who himself believed (at least at that time) that dinosaurs were truly millions and millions of years old — received much heat and anger from the evolutionary academics…… This rage of angry letters and such appears based solely and entirely on the fact that he dared release the soft-tissue data to the public. Though, both Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer (who technically found the soft tissue, now contented that — and I quote — “soft tissue can apparently survive 68 million years……”
Even the new statements that “dinosaur tissue must be 68 million years old, because — well — we all know dinosaurs are 68 million years old, right?” is a bit hard to believe they even say it. None-the-less, Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer told LiveScience in the article beneath:

“The controversial discovery of 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rexfinally has a physical explanation. According to new research (what they mean and should state here for accuracy is a “theory” put forth by Mary Schweitzer herself), iron in the dinosaur’s body preserved the tissue before it could decay. The research, headed by Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University, explains how proteins — and possibly even DNA — can survive millennia. Schweitzer and her colleagues first raised this question in 2005, when they found the seemingly impossible: soft tissue preserved inside the leg of an adolescent T. rex unearthed in Montana (which — added for the original article’s accuracy and complete transparency — disagrees entirely with both Mary Schweitzer and Jack Horner’s previous theory that dinosaurs became birds).“What we found was unusual, because it was still soft and still transparent and still flexible,” Schweitzer told LiveScience.
One would think they would abandon the old “Dinosaurs turned into birds” story for the bigger story and reality that’s in their hands. But, it doesn’t appear that is in the cards (continued below).

In the instance of Jack Horner and Bob Enyart: Jack Horner, Jurassic Park’s original technical guy,has refused even to this very day to accept Bob Enyart’s offer to pay Jack $25,000 plus all expenses to carbon date his famous “dino soft-tissue” T-Rex discovery in Montana…… simply letting the cards fall where they may. Jack Horner stated on a recorded audio — after Bob Enyart had increased the amount several times from $10,000 in order to get the basic C-14 testing done —  Jack stated that it didn’t have anything to do with the amount of money, and that no amount of money would get the C-14 test done……. as doing the test (his words), “that wouldn’t help us.”

These replies seem a bit odd as Jack Horner is holding a T-Rex chock-full of bloody soft tissues and stretchy blood vessels.  Mary Schweitzer — who worked with Jack Horner on the T-Rex and technically made the soft tissue discovery — is reported to have privately done a C-14 test…….
Then, later reported she stated that she couldn’t remember the results.

The evolution segments of the academic community’s initial claims about the now global finds of dinosaur soft tissue were that: “Even though it looks like dinosaur blood veins, vessels and tissue…. It must be biofilm that developed after-the-fact.”
These arguments by Evolution supporters and the Darwin theological crowd lasted until about 2011………………..

Then, in 2011, ten leading universities and institutes including Harvard, the University of Manchester, and the University of Pennsylvania published in PLoS One, a peer-reviewed journal, that they had verified that presumed dinosaur material, and I quote their findings, “it is indeedoriginal biological tissue from a dinosaur.”

So, following this finding, the evolution segments of the academic community, changed their story once again. Now apparently, if I understand them correctly, dinosaurs tissue can mysteriously survive millions and millions of years. And, they are working long and hard on a battery of theories and new ideas to support what they seem to need pretty badly to be true……… Have you ever been in one of those uncomfortable conversations with someone that just won’t admit the blatantly obvious despite being surrounded by their own evidence to the contrary……. Yep….. That is where this could easily seem to be at in regard to dinosaurs….. At evolution’s university level, no-less. If link above in image didn’t go to the donate page, please click here
Bottom-line: How do we know that soft tissue found in dinosaur bones now all around the globe is young?

– the short-lived Carbon 14 everywhere including in dinosaur bones – the 521-year half-life of DNA that helps date the actual age of fossils containing dinosaurian genetic material, and – the mostly left-handed amino acids that should be equally right and left handed if they were “Jurassic”, and – the research on Egyptian mummies that established 10,000 years as an upper limit for how long original biological molecules could survive.

2) Carbon 14 now found Everywhere…… Including Dinosaurs.

Accordingly, Carbon 14 used to seem as if it where the “evidence tool” for those who didn’t snap to and nod along with Charles Darwin’s theories, views, opinions…… and their updates, modern morphologies, and plastic monkey-men displays that came along with them. Now, at the point we are at today, many within the sciences of all flavors (even academia) seem to shy away from it (Carbon Dating) at greater and greater distances. It is true some do still sing the praises of the “precision of Carbon 14 Dating”, along with other dating methods such as radiometric dating — and, they are absolutely welcome to that opinion and view if it tickles them right — but, that certainly has not been the results and findings of my research. And, the other types of longer dating tests — such as Radiometric dating andPotassium–argon dating —- actually produce numbers that are more “off-target” than carbon dating could ever dream. Here is what I would encourage anyone to look into on their own, C-14 Dating seems to consistently spit out numbers and dates all over the place (a topic that certainly deserves more than I can give it in the context of this particular article)…….. None-the-less, here is the long and short of this, Carbon 14 may pump out numbers all over the map when dating something (like is seen in the C-14 dates of dinosaur bone below) — however — on the flip side of the coin, it absolutely demonstrates that something cannot be millions of years old simply by the sheer virtue of having C-14 in it at all.
Dinosaurs generally date in the rages of between 20 thousand and 40 thousand (C-14 test years) from present day…….. just like Mammoths and other claimed “ice-age” animals also date in these same ranges. This is generally thought to be because the atmosphere (including its carbon levels, such as C-14) were different prior to the global flood. Many of the plants and animals found underneath the ground — like a mixed bag of billions of dead things that ended in trauma as entire buried ecological systems intertwined with sea shells, clams and fish — many of the enormous creatures and massive plants buried right under our feet required an entirely different atmosphere and ecological systems to exist at all. Long story short, different atmosphere in the past equals giant numbers on your C-14 test for stuff you pull out of the ground. And, at this point, the C-14 data from Jack Horner’s T-Rex — though it would be nice — really isn’t terribly relevant at this point. As seen above, C-14 results are all over the place when it comes to dinosaur bones of nearly all types, shapes and sorts. The Evolution / Darwinism community initially claimed that “all dinosaur C-14 results come from Creationists!” A statement which, as a side note, not only turns out to be incorrect, but is an extremely hard to believe defense mechanism……. Are they actually telling me that all science finds and discoveries do NOT need to be examined from their view, especially of this nature and magnitude?
Summary on Carbon Dating of Dinosaur Bones

Whatever the case, the Carbon 14 in dinosaur bones “issue” for the evolution segments of the academic world seems to have spread any way that you look at it. It is no longer limited to an array of private organizations (many with vastly different views one from the other) who have carbon dated 100s and 100s of pieces of dinosaur bone at both university labs and private labs all across the United States, but in 2012 the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore gave C-14 dating results from many bone samples from eight dinosaur specimens.
All C-14 dates on this entire variety of tested dinosaurs ranged from 22,000 to 39,000 years, identical to the predictions made in advance of such tests by both private researchers in the U.S. and Creation Science Organizations.

Many dinosaur fossils include real bone—they are not completely mineralized, i.e. are not yet ‘rock’. And what is found inside those dinosaur bones is a huge surprise to many people. A series of discoveries since the early 1990s has revealed dino bones with blood cells, hemoglobin, fragile proteins, and soft tissue such as flexible ligaments and blood vessels. And of special note: DNA and radiocarbon.

This is enormously confronting for evolutionists, because how could such bones possibly be 65 million years old? As one of the researchers involved in the discovery of dinosaur blood cells, Dr Mary Schweitzer, said:

“If you take a blood sample, and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week. So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?”1
So entrenched is the evolutionary paradigm in the scientific community, that it soon became known that Dr Schweitzer was having trouble getting her results published.
Why indeed? Unless of course they haven’t been extinct for millions of years, and their remains were preserved quickly under catastrophic conditions a few thousand years ago, or even more recently. But so entrenched is the evolutionary paradigm in the scientific community, that it soon became known that Dr Schweitzer was having trouble getting her results published. “I had one reviewer tell me that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible,” says Schweitzer. “I wrote back and said, ‘Well, what data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’”

Schweitzer recounts how she noticed that a T. rex skeleton (from Hell Creek, Montana) had a distinctly cadaverous odour. When she mentioned this to long-time paleontologist Jack Horner,2 he said, “Oh yeah, all Hell Creek bones smell.” But so ingrained is the notion among paleontologists that dinosaur bones must be millions of years old that the ‘smell of death’ didn’t even register with them—despite the evidence being right under their noses.3 Schweitzer herself does not seem able or willing to escape the long-age paradigm, despite her direct involvement in many of the discoveries.

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Evolution and Carbon-14 Dating

According to elutionary scientists, radiocarbon dating (also known as carbon-14 dating) is totally ineffective in measuring time when dealing with millions of years. In his 2000 book, Genes, People, and Languages, renowned Stanford University geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, in a discussion on the theory of human evolution, commented on radiocarbon dating, stating: “The most crucial dates in modern human evolution are unfortunately beyond the range of the radiocarbon method, which has a limit of about 40,000 years” (p. 61, emp. added). Staunch evolutionist Richard Dawkins also dealt with the limitations of radiocarbon dating a few years ago in his highly touted book, The Blind Watchmaker. He was even more critical of this dating method than was Cavalli-Sforza, saying:
Different kinds of radioactive decay-based geological stopwatches run at different rates. The radiocarbon stopwatch buzzes round at a great rate, so fast that, after some thousands of years, its spring is almost wound down and the watch is no longer reliable. It is useful for dating organic material on the archaeological/historical timescale where we are dealing in hundreds or a few thousands of years, but it is no good for the evolutionary timescale where we are dealing in millions of years (1986, p. 226 emp. added).
Both evolutionists and creationists stand in agreement that radiocarbon dating, which can be used only to date organic samples, is totally ineffective in measuring the alleged millions or billions of years of the evolutionary timetable. [In truth, even when dating things that are relatively young, carbon-14 dating is imperfect and based upon certain unprovable assumptions (see Major, 1993).] If radiocarbon dating can measure only items that are thousands of years old, why should evolutionists even consider using this dating method on anything that they already believe to be millions of years old? Creationists would like to see evolutionists apply this method to items believed to be millions of years old, because it might help convince evolutionists that coal, diamonds, fossils, etc. are not millions of years old, but only thousands of years old.
Consider that in recent years “readily detectable amounts of carbon-14” in materials evolutionists suppose are millions of years old “have been the rule rather than the exception” (DeYoung, 2005, p. 49). When geophysicist John Baumgardner and colleagues obtained 10 coal samples from the U.S. Department of Energy Coal Sample Bank, one of the leading radiocarbon laboratories in the world tested the samples for traces of carbon. The coal samples were analyzed using the modern accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method. If the coal were really many millions of years old (as evolutionists suggest), no traces of carbon-14 should have been found. “[A]ny carbon-containing materials that are truly older than 100,000 years should be ‘carbon-14 dead’ with C-14 levels below detection limits” (DeYoung, p. 49). But, in fact, traces of carbon-14 were found. “[A] residue of carbon-14 atoms was found in all ten samples.... The amounts of C-14 in coal are found to average 0.25 percent of that in the atmosphere today” (DeYoung, p. 53). Diamonds assumed to be hundreds of millions of years old were also tested—12 in all. Once again, traces of C-14 were found in every sample (see DeYoung, pp. 45-62).
In June of 1990, Hugh Miller submitted two dinosaur bone fragments to the Department of Geosciences at the University in Tucson, Arizona for carbon-14 analysis. One fragment was from an unidentified dinosaur. The other was from an Allosaurus excavated by James Hall near Grand Junction, Colorado in 1989. Miller submitted the samples without disclosing the identity of the bones. (Had the scientists known the samples actually were from dinosaurs, they would not have bothered dating them, since it is assumed dinosaurs lived millions of years ago—outside the limits of radiocarbon dating.) Interestingly, the C-14 analysis indicated that the bones were from 10,000-16,000 years old—a far cry from their alleged 60-million-year-old age (see Dahmer, et al., 1990, pp. 371-374).
What is C-14 doing in coal, diamonds, and dinosaur fossils, if these objects are really many millions of years old? Richard Dawkins declared that C-14 dating “is useful for dating organic material on the archaeological/historical timescale where we are dealing in hundreds or afew thousands of years,” not millions of years (1986, p. 226, emp. added). Yet, “readily detectable amounts of carbon-14,” even in coal, diamonds, and various fossils, “have been the rule rather than the exception” in recent years (DeYoung, 2005, p. 49). Why? Evolutionists assert that the specimens in every case must have been contaminated by outside carbon. After all, everyone “knows” coal is millions of years old, right? Using C-14 dating on specimens already believed to be only hundreds or a few thousands of years old is considered acceptable. Scientists expect to find carbon in samples they perceive as young. But, if specimens believed to be millions of years old are tested (e.g., coal), and found to have carbon traces, then they “must” have been contaminated. Or so we are told.
Informed creation scientists, like members of the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) team, contend that the modern “AMS measurements carefully eliminate all possible sources of carbon contamination. These include any trace of C-14 which has possibly entered the samples in recent history, or C-14 introduction during sample preparation and analysis” (DeYoung, 2005, p. 50). Whereas “unexpected carbon-14 was initially assumed to be a result of contamination..., as this problem was aggressively explored, it was realized that most of the carbon-14 was inherent to the samples being measured” (p. 49).
The fact is, significant traces of carbon have been detected in samples that “should not” contain carbon. Since evolutionists are unwilling to adjust their million/billion-year timetable, they are forced to conclude that radiocarbon dating is always faulty when it comes up with young dates (measured in hundreds or thousands of years) for assumed old specimens (supposedly millions of years old). Do you see anything wrong with this picture? The fact is, coal, diamonds, and dinosaur fossils containing traces of carbon is no surprise. One would expect to find such if the biblical accounts of Creation and the Flood are true.

By all the rules of paleontology, such traces of life should have long since drained from the bones. It's a matter of faith among scientists that soft tissue can survive at most for a few tens of thousands of years, not the 65 million since T. rex walked what's now the Hell Creek Formation in Montana. But Schweitzer tends to ignore such dogma. She just looks and wonders, pokes and prods, following her scientific curiosity. That has allowed her to see things other paleontologists have missed—and potentially to shatter fundamental assumptions about how much we can learn from the past.

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5 Iron Key to Preserving Dinosaur Soft Tissue on Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:03 pm


Iron Key to Preserving Dinosaur Soft Tissue

Stretching Back Through Deep Time
But can iron chelation preserve soft tissue and even keep it soft for millions of years? While a 200-fold delay in the decay of ostrich blood vessels is certainly impressive, even that level of preservation can’t hold a candle to the 99,800,000-fold9 increase in chemical stability needed in the millions-of-years evolutionary scenario. Schweitzer quite reasonably makes a comparison to the fixation properties of formaldehyde. Many variables influence the degree and duration of the decay-delaying properties of formaldehyde. But specimens preserved in formaldehyde are not preserved perfectly or permanently. While burial conditions likely influence the efficacy of iron as a preservative in any given bone, there is certainly no reason to propose that iron could preserve the molecular structure of soft tissue for millions of years any more than formaldehyde could.

Regardless of what anyone thinks is likely, the fact is it is impossible to scientifically test and observe the answer to this question. No scientist has ever observed the effects of millions of years on anything. The millions-of-years age assigned to the strata containing dinosaur fossils is derived from a number of worldview-based unverifiable assumptions. Therefore, the fact that dinosaur soft tissue is preserved in some fossils does not mean that iron or anything else has preserved it for millions of years. Iron chelation may be the (or a) key to preservation, a conclusion supported by Schweitzer’s work, but nothing in the discovery demonstrates how long such preservation could be effective.

When examined in light of the record of earth’s history recorded in God’s Word, much of the fossil record is easily understood as a record of the order of rapid catastrophic burial of billions of organisms during the year-long global Flood of Noah’s day about 4,350 years ago. Biology has never demonstrated any observable evolution of one kind of organism into a new, more complex one. Thus the fossil record is not a record of the evolution of life but much of it is the record of the order of burial as the global Flood overwhelmed the habitats of the world and sorted creatures in the deposition process.

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For some years creation scientists have been doing their own investigation of radiocarbon in fossils. Pieces of fossilized wood in Oligocene, Eocene, Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic, and Permian rock layers supposedly 32–250 million years old all contain measurable radiocarbon, equivalent to “ages” of 20,700 to 44,700 years (Figures 3–5).5 6 7 8 9 10 11 (Creation geologists believe that with careful recalibration, even these extremely “young” time periods would be fewer than 10,000 years.)

Similarly, carefully sampled pieces of coal from ten U.S. coal beds, ranging from Eocene to Pennsylvanian and supposedly 40–320 million years old, all contained similar radiocarbon levels equivalent to “ages” of 48,000 to 50,000 years.12 Even fossilized ammonite shells found alongside fossilized wood in a Cretaceous layer, supposedly 112–120 million years old, contained measurable radiocarbon equivalent to “ages” of 36,400 to 48,710 years (Figure 5).13

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7 ichthyosaur-bonanza on Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:53 pm



They were buried in the deep sea, but are becoming exposed under a glacier in southern Chile.
Forty-six exceptionally-preserved ichthyosaurs (extinct air-breathing marine reptiles) have been found in strata becoming exposed under a melting glacier in southern Chile, Live Science reported.  The completely articulated (unseparated) fossils range from juveniles to adults.

 Soft tissue and embryos were found, the abstract says from the GSA Bulletin:

After three field campaigns to the area, a total of 46 articulated and virtually complete ichthyosaur specimens, both adults and juveniles, were tentatively assigned to four different species of Ophthalmosauridae.

Preservation is excellent and occasionally includes soft tissue and embryos.

The skeletons are associated with ammonites, belemnites, inoceramid bivalves, and fishes as well as numerous plant remains. The enormous concentration of ichthyosaurs is unique for Chile and South America and places the Tyndall locality among the prime fossil Lagerstätten for Early Cretaceous marine reptiles worldwide.
Prior to this discovery, ichthyosaur fossils were rare in South America.  Now, this site under the Tyndall Glacier in the Torres del Paine National Park of southern Chile is one of the best in the world.  It was very difficult to reach; one of the team members told Live Science, “the team had to drive for five hours, hike for 10 to 12 hours to camp and then hike another two hours, sometimes in heavy rain, hail or snow.”

Based on the GSA Bulletin paper, PhysOrg presented an account of how the marine reptiles might have become fossilized:
The Tyndall ichthyosaurs were gregarious and likely hunted in packs in a submarine canyon near the east coast of this sea. Their potential prey, belemnites and small fishes, were abundant due to plankton blooms caused by cold water upwelling. Occasionally, high energy turbiditic mudflows sucked down everything in their reach, including ichthyosaurs. Inside the suspension flows, the air-breathing reptiles lost orientation and finally drowned. They were instantly buried in the abyss at the bottom of the canyon.

How the fossils got mixed with plants and uplifted to hundreds of feet above sea level (265′ according to Google Earth) without being disturbed was not explained.  According to the evolutionary timeline, the burials occurred between 150 million and 100 million years old.  This would require successive mudflows in the same submarine canyon hypothesized for the burial site over 50 million years.  If that were true, it would seem there would be stratification separating the “episodic mass-mortality events”, rather than the uniform deposit described in the paper as “a monotonous bathyal to abyssal sequence of the Late Jurassic to late Early Cretaceous.”
It’s interesting to compare this spectacular burial site with that of the whales in another part of Chile (2/26/14).  There, the evolutionists wove a tale about multiple burials over 16,000 years.  Here, they fictionalize multiple burials over 50 million years.  Both deposits yielded spectacularly-preserved specimens concentrated in a small area.

It’s also interesting to see them gloss over the “soft tissue” aspect.  How could soft tissue be preserved for up to 150 million years?  In most freshly-buried deposits, a paleontologist would expect bioturbation by worms and other creatures to have disturbed the sediments and their fossil contents.  The articles mention soft tissue and embryos, but provide no plausible mechanism in which it could be preserved for so long.  We would like to know more details about said soft tissue, if anyone can find out: is it original tissue, or is it lithified?
When a scenario includes too many ad hoc elements, it loses plausibility: (1) the animals were concentrated by upwelling currents, (2) the animals lost their orientation gasping for air in the mudflow; (3) they were buried instantly in subsequent mudflows over 50 million years in the same canyon; (4) they were buried in the abyss, but later uplifted to above sea level without becoming disturbed; (5) they are just now becoming exposed in our lifetime under a melting glacier; (6) soft tissues were preserved because everybody knows marine reptiles (along with their terrestrial contemporaries, the dinosaurs and pterosaurs) went extinct in the Cretaceous.

Does this make sense?  A single global Flood that buried the ichthyosaurs and the whales is a sufficient cause to account for the findings; no millions of years needed.  Ockham’s Razor would favor a single cause over the convoluted string of improbable events proposed by the evolutionists.
Item: no ancestors are known for the sleek, well-designed ichthyosaurs, which resemble porpoises (mammals) in many respects (that’s supposed to be a remarkable case of “convergent evolution”).  Item 2: other cases of instant burial of ichthyosaurs are known, including one found in China of a female in the process of giving birth (2/14/14) and another spectacular example (from Europe?) published in Creation Magazine.

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Konservat-Lagerstatte means literally 'conservation warehouse' and is a term given by palaeontologists to a site of exceptional fossil preservation. Messel has yielded abundant fossils with soft tissue preservation, including hairs, feathers and stomach and intestine contents. This tells us something about the feeding habits, ecology and environment of the Messel floras and faunas.

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Fossil of a juvenile individual of Scipionyx samniticus. The fossil (to date the first of this species ever) preserves in an exceptional way clear traces of soft tissues - a rather rare event

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C. Nielsen-Marsh, “Biomolecules in Fossil Remains: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Endurance,” The Biochemist, June 2002, pp. 12–14

laboratory tests and theoretical research have shown that proteins similar to those seen in the T. rex fossil degrade too quickly—even in ideal laboratory conditions—to survive for more than a few thousand years

Schweitzer: Yeah, it did sort of "blow my mind." Still does. I spent about three weeks saying that I couldn't be seeing what it looked like I was seeing. I kept looking at them over and over, and I would get goosebumps. I kept thinking that there had to be some kind of mistake, and I had my technician repeat the studies over and over and over with new chunks of bone to be sure we could get the same results.

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Soft tissue taken from 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil yields original protein

Soft Dinosaur Tissue

Allegedly, “no human being has ever seen a live dinosaur” (“Age...,” 1993, 183[1]:142). Evolutionary scientists insist that dinosaurs became extinct 60+ million years ago, while humans evolved approximately 57 million years later. Regardless of ubiquitous, ancient stories and artifacts that indicate man once coexisted with dinosaurs (see Butt and Lyons, 2005; Lyons, 2007), evolutionists continue to put their confidence in assumption-based dating methods, declaring dinosaur fossils to be many millions of years older than man or monkey. More and more evidence is coming to light, however, which casts serious doubt on evolutionists’ claims.

In March 2005, “paleontologists were stunned to find that the soft tissue of a...dinosaur was preserved within a fossil from a Tyrannosaurus rex” (Boyle, 2007, emp. added). Dr. Mary Schweitzer and her colleagues reported the find in Science magazine, describing the demineralized T. rex femur and tibia fragments as “highly fibrous,” “flexible,” and so “resilient” that “when stretched, returns to its original shape” (Schweitzer, et al., 2005, 307:1952,1953; Schweitzer, et al., 2007, 316:277). Amazingly, the researchers were even able to squeeze round, dark-red-to-deep-brown microscopic structures from the presumed T. rex blood vessels (Perkins, 2005, 167[13]:195). Scientists were shocked! “Such a thing had never been seen before” (Boyle, 2007). How could a “70-million-year-old” Tyrannosaurus rex bone still contain soft tissue?

For those who may chalk this up as just some anomaly that should cast no doubt upon the multi-million-year evolutionary timetable, consider what MSNBC science editor Alan Boyle reported on July 24, 2007: “Today, paleontologists are still stunned—not only to find material that looks like dinosaur cartilage, blood vessels, blood cells and bone cells, but to see the stuff in so many different specimens” (emp. added). Paleontologist Kristi Rogers of Macalester College said: “It’s not just a fluke occurrence.... It’s something that’s more pervasive in the fossil record” (as quoted in Boyle). Scientists have excavated a Tyrannosaurus and a hadrosaur from Montana, a Titanosaurus from Madagascar, and more samples that the famous dinosaur fossil hunter Jack Horner has uncovered in Montana, as well as Mongolia. Regarding the hadrosaur specimen found in Montana, Dr. Mary Schweitzer stated: “It’s the ‘freshest,’ if you will, dinosaur bone that has ever had this analysis conducted on it” (as quoted in Boyle).

Although evolutionists continue to describe such dinosaur bones as “70 million years old,” “miraculously preserved soft tissue” (Gebel, 2007) in a “growing number of tissue samples” (Boyle, 2007) around the world demands a reasonable explanation. Suggesting that these bones sat around for at least 70 million years (or 25.55 billion days) in “porous sandstone” (Morris, n.d.) without completely fossilizing or decomposing literally is unbelievable. A much better, more logical explanation is that dinosaurs once lived on Earth in the not-too-distant past—only a few hundred or thousand years ago, not 60+ million years ago. If soft, flexible, resilient, highly fibrous dinosaur tissue in many different specimens will not convince the gainsayer, what would?

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Rescuing Dinosaur Soft Tissue from the Ravages of Time

To rule out other explanations, he points to (1) the reaction of the tissue to antibodies, (2) the peptide sequence data, and (3) the discovery of intact histone proteins.

Well, you have just observed something about “the scientific community.”  They are willing to blast the world to hang on to their evolutionary notions.  They will ignore evidence that stares them in the face.  They don’t like the sound of anything that threatens their naturalistic religion with its obligatory moyboys.  They believe in ghosts and children’s fairy tales (whatever happened to uniformity of nature, if Goldilocks is their savior?).  They invent phrases that masquerade as explanations, that accomplish nothing more than hiding their biases.  Give them contradictory evidence, and they will laugh you out of the room.  When they can’t do that any longer, they will grasp at any straw and turn it into a pillar, then stand on it and proclaim how wonderful scientism is.

Others have begun to report similar findings, and not just from inside bones.  Manning and Wogelius have reported finding amino acids in the claw and skin of Dakota, the 66-million-year-old Edmontosaurus mummy (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, vol 276, p 3429).  Meanwhile, Orr’s former student Maria McNamara, now splitting her time between Dublin and Yale, claims to have found marrow inside the fossilised bones of 10 million-year old frogs and salamanders preserved in lake-bed deposits from Spain (Geology, vol 34, p 641).  Marrow is normally among the first tissues to decay, but she found organic residues preserved in three dimensions that retained the original colour and texture of the marrow.
   “The fidelity of preservation on a morphological level is remarkable, though it’s very unlikely that the biochemistry would be completely original,” says [Patrick] Orr [University College Dublin].  Preservation of very decay-prone soft tissues is probably more common than we realise, he adds.

You can read Hecht’s article and think, if you are intellectually lazy, “Isn’t this nice; science marches on.” But it means that science was marching in the wrong direction for a long, long time. The facts are making evolutionary paleontologists and geologists turn about face, with red faces: they didn’t expect to find soft tissue; they weren’t looking for soft tissue; and they couldn’t believe it when it was shown to them. Schweitzer and Manning are having to act like drill sergeants, barking to the troops that they have been marching in lock step in the wrong direction.
There is only one group that is not surprised by these findings: the young-earth creationists. Yes, those despised, hated, expelled Henry Morris followers, relegated to the dregs of society by academia (both secular and theistic evolutionist camps), even shunned by many in the Intelligent Design community, are not at all surprised. Like their foes, they also cannot believe that DNA and protein can last for 80 to 150 million years – because they believe those long ages are a fiction. Now that the sleepers on EST (Evolution Standard Time) have been jolted awake, should we trust their alarm clocks? Should we grant them credibility now, when they say, “Well, I’ll be darned! DNA can survive for 150 million years!”? Many of them are sidestepping the fact that soft tissue preservation wreaks havoc on evolutionary age assumptions (cf. 06/03/2005).
While these findings do not vindicate the young earth creationists beyond all doubt – there are still many questions and tests to be made – it sure looks like they have the ball, and the momentum is with them. So don’t let the evolutionists put Greek happy-masks over their red faces and spin this story with cheerful talk that such finds are going to “breathe new life into our understanding of ancient life” (how much did they understand before?), or that this is going to “revolutionize paleontology” somehow, in some vague, unspecified way. It ought to revolutionize it, all right: by dismantling the evolutionary timeline and re-opening some old, imprisoned questions about the history of the earth.

In addition to all of this, Unfossilized dinosaur bones have been dated on about 20-30 occasions (at different times, and at different laboratories), and the "dates" obtained are all between 10,000 and 48,000 years old: the same as for unfossilized Sabretooth Tiger bones, and Neanderthal bones, and Mammoth bones. Perhaps that's because they are the same age. Come to think of it, that's also (probably) why Dinosaurs are described in detail in the Old Testament book of Job.

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Biological Material Found: As of April 2014, in fossils from dinosaur-layer and deeper strata, researchers have discovered flexible and transparent blood vessels, red blood cells, many various proteins including the microtubule building block tubulin, collagen, the cytoskeleton component actin, and hemoglobin, bone maintenance osteocyte cells, and powerful evidence for DNA.

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14 New Record Set for Soft Tissue in Fossils on Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:26 pm


New Record Set for Soft Tissue in Fossils

In the following paper, the authors note that portions of the fossil are not mineralized. In other words, they are still soft. As the authors report:

Moczydlowska, M., F. Estall, and F. Foucher, “Microstructure and Biogeochemistry of the Organically Preserved Ediacaran Metazoan Sabellidites,” Journal of Paleontology 88(2):224-239, 2014.

The Sabellidites organic body is preserved without permineralization. Minerals have not replicated any part of the soft tissue and the carbonaceous material of the wall is primary, preserving the original layering of the wall, its texture, and fabrics.

As a chemist, it is hard for me to understand how soft tissue and modified polysaccharides like chitin can survive for hundreds of millions of years. It is much easier for me to believe that these fossils aren’t nearly as old as the standard geological timescale indicates.
Permineralization, or encased fossilization, occurs when dissolved minerals fill the pores and empty spaces in the plant or animal but don’t replace any of the original material. The chemicals then turn into crystals, keeping the organism safe and preserved. While it is possible for many different chemicals to do this, quartz is the most common. Most dinosaur bones are permineralized.

And now, a new find exceeds all previous claims for persistence of the remains of dead creatures to the present day—that is, according to the mind-stretchingly bizarre pre-Cambrian ‘age’ assigned to these fossils.


Journal of Paleontology, 88(2), 2014, p. 224–239

Non permineralized soft tissue is impossible to be millions of years old.

The remains of marine worms ‘dated’ at 550 million years old found in Russia have been examined by a team of researchers led by Professor Małgorzata Moczydłowska (pronounced approx. “mou-go-ZHAH-ta mo-chid-WOF-ska”) of Uppsala University, Sweden.3

The tube of S. cambriensis was flexible, as shown by its soft deformation and preservation—Moczydłowska et al., Journal of Paleontology, 2014
They found that the tube casings of the seabed worm Sabellidites cambriensis were still soft and flexible. After comprehensive laboratory analysis, the researchers assessed the seabed worm’s remains to be still composed of the original organic compounds. They ruled out the possibility of modern contaminants and of preservation by various means of mineralization. In the researchers’ own words (from their Journal of Paleontology paper):

“The Sabellidites organic body is preserved without permineralization. Minerals have not replicated any part of the soft tissue and the carbonaceous material of the wall is primary, preserving the original layering of the wall, its texture, and fabrics.”3


“The tube of S. cambriensis was flexible, as shown by its soft deformation and preservation, and composed of fibers perfect in habit and parallel arranged in sheets, and then sheets in layers.”

Within days they were covered by sediment, perhaps stirred up by a storm—Professor Małgorzata Moczydłowska

Accompanying electron microscope photographs showed these ‘perfect in habit’ fibres to be less than half a thousandth of a millimetre wide. Yet these delicate fibres are still soft after supposedly half a billion years!?

The researchers were even able to chemically tease the fibres apart for further examination, and concluded that the structure of the fossil worm tube casing is “consistent with the ß chitin tubes of siboglinid animals”.3 In other words, the same as seabed dwelling worms such as beard worms today (see photo above). Why has there been no evolution in all that (supposed) time?

Magnifying the nanobacteria 2,500 times with a scanning electron microscope revealed tiny filaments “flexible and deformed like macaroni”. Chemical analysis showed “they were neither modern contaminants nor mineral deposits.”5 Professor Moczydłowska offered the following scenario as to how these had come to be preserved:

“After the worm died, the nanobacteria started eating into it in oxygen-free water at the bottom of a marine basin. Within days they were covered by sediment, perhaps stirred up by a storm. Nanobacteria activity ceased and they were rapidly fossilised.”5

Perhaps stirred up by a storm? But storms today don’t seem to ‘pack the punch’ required to explain the exquisite preservation seen in the ‘fossil record’. It seems Professor Moczydłowska and her evolutionary colleagues are unaware of (or have deliberately forgotten?—2 Peter 3:3–6) a colossal worldwide storm that would account for the abundance of preserved creatures found in sedimentary rock layers all around the world. It was a storm the likes of which the earth had never seen before, and never will experience again (Genesis 9:11–17). And the Bible indicates that this was only around 4,500 years ago.

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These are exciting times to be a creationist! Ever since Dr. Mary Schweitzer first demonstrated the existence of soft tissue in a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that is supposed to be 65 million years old,1 soft tissue is turning up in all sorts of supposedly ancient fossils (see here, here, here, and here for more information). The latest example comes from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, which is supposed to be about 65 million years old, so the fossil is assumed to be that old as well.

The fossil in question is a horn from a Triceratops horridus specimen. After it was collected, it broke in several places, indicating that the fossil had been fractured. Since the fossil was broken, the authors of the study decided to get rid of the “hard parts” of the fossil to see if there was anything soft inside. To do this, they soaked the horn in a weak acid for a month.

As the acid ate away at the minerals that formed the horn, the authors found strips of light brown, soft tissue remaining. Now this soft stuff could be from all manner of things, so the authors decided to do a microscopic study of the tissue, and what they found was was exactly what you would expect to see if you examined the tissue from the bone of a recently deceased animal!2

When they examined the tissue under a light microscope, they found well-defined, circular Haversian systems. In case you aren’t familiar with that term, compact bone is made of cylindrical structures formed by bone cells that are called osteocytes.

The authors show that the Haversian canals they saw in the tissue were filled with structures that strongly resemble red blood cells!

Since the tissue looks like compact bone tissue, the most reasonable conclusion is that it comes from the Triceratops fossil. Given that, there is another question to answer: are these Haversian systems fossilized or not? After all, it is possible that the fossilization process is so precise that it preserves structures on the cellular level. Given the fact that the tissue was soft, that’s unlikely, but I suppose it’s still a possibility.

To answer this question, the authors looked at the Haversian systems with a scanning electron microscope, and you can see pictures of what they saw here. The osteocytes that make up the Haversian systems seem completely intact, all the way down to their fragile filipodial extensions. In fact, the authors note:

   Filipodial extensions were delicate and showed no evidence of any permineralization or crystallization artifact and therefore were interpreted to be soft.

So it really seems like they were seeing intact, soft osteocytes from a Triceratops fossil found in the Hell Creek Formation. It is hard enough to understand how a bone cell can exist like that for thousands of years. The idea that it has lasted for 65 million years simply boggles the mind.

In my mind, this study is strong evidence against the idea that the fossils in the Hell Creek Formation are millions of years old.

Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous Bone Proteins

Low concentrations of the structural protein collagen have recently been reported in dinosaur fossils based primarily on mass spectrometric analyses of whole bone extracts. However, direct spectroscopic characterization of isolated fibrous bone tissues, a crucial test of hypotheses of biomolecular preservation over deep time, has not been performed. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous proteinaceous molecules are retained in a humerus from a Late Cretaceous mosasaur (an extinct giant marine lizard).

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Oh Dem Young Bones

Posted by jlwile on May 16, 2011

An osteocyte-like structure found in a supposedly 70-million-year-old fossil (Click for credit)
In three previous articles (here, here, and here), I discussed bones that are supposed to be millions of years old and yet have soft tissue and large organic molecules in them. This is quite hard to understand if the fossils truly are that old, since soft tissue and large organic molecules are expected to decay fairly rapidly, even under ideal conditions. For example, an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how large organic molecules such as protein and DNA could be preserved over time suggested that even if a fossil were kept at the freezing point of water, collagen (a protein found in bone) should decay away so that it becomes undetectable in just under three million years.1 Nevertheless, collagen has been found in fossils that are supposed to be more than twenty times that old!

Of course, if you are desperate to believe in an ancient earth and are therefore forced to think such fossils are really that old, you could hope that either very special conditions existed for the fossils in which the soft tissue and proteins were found, or you could hope that the soft tissue and proteins were the result of some kind of contamination. A recent paper in PLoS ONE has, in my opinion, laid both of those hopes to rest.

The paper examines samples from a mosasaur fossil that is 70 million years old, according to scientifically-irresponsible dating techniques. A microscopic analysis of this fossil showed all sorts of amazing things. For example, when the bone was etched with acid and then examined with a microscope, several structures that look like mature bone cells (called osteocytes) were found. In addition, all sorts of fibrous tissue was found, and amazingly enough, that fibrous tissue absorbed dye just like connective tissue from a modern bone!2

But what was the fibrous tissue made of? The authors show beyond all reasonable doubt that it contained collagen, which is a complex protein found in all bones. In my mind, their detailed analysis is part of what makes this paper so important.

As I stated before, some who are desperate to believe that fossils like this mosasaur fossil really are tens of millions of years old want to believe that any soft tissue or proteins recovered from them don’t really belong to the fossil itself. Instead, they are the result of recent bacterial contamination or some other process that would yield fibrous organic tissue. However, the authors show that this is just not possible.

For example, they used infrared light to probe the fibrous tissue that they isolated from the fossil, but instead of using a standard source for this infrared light, they used a particle accelerator known as a synchrotron. This produces incredibly high-intensity infrared light, which can provide significant details on the molecules in the tissue. They compared the results they obtained with tissue from their fossil to those obtained with bacterial cells and bacterial biofilms, and they show quite conclusively that the fibrous tissue in the fossil could not possibly be the result of bacterial contamination. They also compare their results to a sample of pure collagen and to the fibrous tissue from a modern monitor lizard. The results are completely consistent, indicating that the fibrous tissue from the fossil is not only reptile tissue, but it is reptile tissue that contains a lot of collagen.

They did several other tests on the tissue recovered from the fossil to conclusively demonstrate that they had recovered collagen from it. For example, they exposed it to antibodies that are designed to bind with collagen, and the antibodies did, indeed, bind to molecules in the fibrous tissue. This is important, because if the collagen in the fossil had decayed significantly, the antibodies would not bind well to it. They also examined the amino acids that were in the fibrous tissue, and the distribution was exactly what you would expect for collagen and other structural proteins. In the end, they make the strong case that the collagen they found really was from the original mosasaur that formed the fossil and that said collagen retained much of its original chemical structure.

These results, while impressive enough, are not the only important results that come from this paper. In fact, this paper tells us something about what to expect from the fossil record in general. As the authors note:

Thus, the preservation of primary soft tissues and biomolecules is not limited to large-sized bones buried in fluvial sandstone environments, but also occurs in relatively small-sized skeletal elements deposited in marine sediments.

This makes their results all the more important. It is one thing to have soft tissue and proteins preserved in a large bone that was buried in fluvial sandstone. After all, the large bone might protect the fragile tissue, and fluvial sandstones are supposed to have been deposited by rivers. Thus, it is likely that the sediments which formed the sandstone weren’t inundated with water for a long time. So even though finding soft tissue and proteins in a large bone that was encased in fluvial sandstone for millions of years is surprising, you might be able to imagine that the environment offered some special conditions that helped to prevent the expected decay.

However, these results come from a small bone, and the bone was found in sediments that should have been soaked in water for a long time. This makes it extremely hard to believe that the fossil had any special conditions that would help keep soft tissue and proteins from decaying away relatively quickly.

Of course, if one takes the more reasonable approach and is willing to consider that the fossil isn’t anywhere close to 70 million years old, the results of this incredible study are a lot easier to understand.

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STOKKE, Norway – Archaeologists working in Norway were recently stunned when they discovered what appears to be remains of a fossilized brain—a find that could prove to be a significant challenge to the evolutionary timescale.

A team of about a dozen scientists affiliated with the University of Oslo in Norway has been digging for the past two months in a fjordside area near Oslo. The researchers believe the location was once the site of a Stone Age civilization, where—according to secular models—humans supposedly lived 8,000 years ago.

As reported by Norwegian Broadcasting, the team of archaeologists has unearthed several noteworthy specimens, including ancient bone remnants and other biological material.

“The fact that we’re uncovering a whole lot of things that are exceptional on a national basis, makes this very special,” said Gaute Reitan, the leader of the excavations.

However, one find in particular completely surprised the scientists and may directly contradict the evolutionary timeframe. The shocking discovery came when the archaeologists noticed softer gray material inside a skull remnant.

“It’s not easy to see, you need to have some training and have an open mind,” Reitan told reporters. “But we saw something brown, with a bit darker surface.”

The scientists believe they have found brain matter, somehow preserved after all these years.

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“Inside [the skull] is something rather grey and clay-like,” Reitan explained. “You can just think for yourself what that may be.”

Right now, the scientists are unsure whether the bone fragments belonged to people or animals. Regardless, their dating methods indicate that the specimens from the dig site, including the apparent brain matter, are nearly 8,000 years old.

Can brain matter survive for eight millennia without disintegrating entirely? Brian Thomas, science writer for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), says that is highly unlikely.

“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,” Thomas wrote in a recent ICR article. “Plus, the idea of a recent creation supplies a timeframe for ancient soft tissues to fit within their expected shelf-lives.”

Thomas says this Norwegian find is similar to a 2010 discovery, when potential brain remnants were found on an African ape fossil that was allegedly 1.9 million years old. These discoveries, Thomas argues, do not comport with the evolutionary timeframe.

“In a biblical framework,” Thomas wrote, “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.”

However, the biblical model may provide a better explanation for these recent discoveries. In fact, in a 2009 article, Thomas predicted that scientists would likely unearth brain matter and soft tissues in fossil remains.

“Given the catastrophic formation indicated by most of earth’s geologic structures and the massive extermination of life represented in the fossil record … the biblical Flood is a valid and relevant interpretive key to earth’s past,” he wrote at the time. “It can be expected that more soft tissue fossils, including brains and perhaps visceral organs, will be found.”

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Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraorbital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus

Soft fibrillar bone tissues were obtained from a supraorbital horn of Triceratops horridus collected at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, USA. Soft material was present in pre and post-decalcified bone. Horn material yielded numerous small sheets of lamellar bone matrix. This matrix possessed visible microstructures consistent with lamellar bone osteocytes. Some sheets of soft tissue had multiple layers of intact tissues with osteocyte-like structures featuring filipodial-like interconnections and secondary branching. Both oblate and stellate types of osteocyte-like cells were present in sheets of soft tissues and exhibited organelle-like microstructures. SEM analysis yielded osteocyte-like cells featuring filipodial extensions of 18–20 μm in length. Filipodial extensions were delicate and showed no evidence of any permineralization or crystallization artifact and therefore were interpreted to be soft. This is the first report of sheets of soft tissues from Triceratops horn bearing layers of osteocytes, and extends the range and type of dinosaur specimens known to contain non-fossilized material in bone matrix.

Scientist loses job for discovering soft tissues in a triceratops horn (it's like finding fresh meat in their bones, a smoking gun evidence that dinosaurs did not lived millions of years ago so it's a huge threat to the theory of Evolution).

If you question evolution, you risk to lose your job. Intolerant atheist evolutionists will never allow real science to prevail, because they will always manipulate the evidence to fit their childish myths.
Sometimes, atheists say to creationists: since you can easily disprove evolution, claim your Nobel Prize!! Obviously, given that Nobel Prizes are controlled by radical intolerant evolutionists, they will not allow a creationist to win a Nobel Prize, for proving evolution wrong. On the contrary, evolutionists will always do their best to ridicule and even fire those who question their religious dogmas.

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Intact Proteins Found in Fossils That Are Supposedly 8-18 Million Years Old 1

Since 2005, there have been several discoveries of soft tissue in fossils that are supposedly millions of years old (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). From a young-earth perspective, this is interesting, because it is hard to understand how soft tissue could be preserved for millions and millions of years. Dr. Mary Schweitzer has attempted to provide a mechanism for such preservation, but it isn’t applicable in the real world. If nothing else, I can safely say that finding such tissue was surprising to those who believe the fossils are millions of years old, but it wasn’t surprising to those of us who think the fossils are only thousands of years old.

Recently, I ran across a very interesting study that adds to the list of surprises for those who think that some fossils are millions of years old. The authors were analyzing the fossilized shells of an extinct group of marine mollusks from the genus Ecphora. Unlike many mollusk groups, the fossilized shells of the Ecphora are colored reddish-brown. The authors decided to find out what produces this colorization, so they soaked the fossils in weak acid to remove the minerals. What remained were thin sheets of organic residue that had all the characteristics one would expect if they were made of proteins.

When the authors examined the sheets chemically, they found all the hallmarks of proteins. For example, they put the sheets through hydrolysis, a process that living organisms use to break proteins down into their component chemicals, which are amino acids. When the sheets were hydrolyzed, they broke down into amino acids, exactly as you would expect a sheet of proteins to do. They also measured the percent carbon in the sheets as well as the ratio of carbon to nitrogen. In the end, they concluded:1

…the organic matter elemental and isotopic compositions are very similar to those from modern marine invertebrates. We conclude, therefore, that essentially intact shell-binding proteins have been preserved for up to 18 Ma.

This is significant, because even at temperatures of zero degrees Celsius, the hardiest proteins are not expected to be detectable in organic samples that are more than about 3 million years old.2 Nevertheless, the authors found lots of essentially intact proteins in fossils that are supposed to be up to 18 million years old!

This isn’t the first time researchers have claimed to find protein in supposedly ancient fossils. About two years ago, Robert R. Reisz and his colleagues were examining fossilized dinosaur eggs that are supposed to be about 190-200 million years old.3 They found organic residue that they thought was made of protein. However, they didn’t do nearly as detailed an analysis, so they couldn’t really say how intact the protein was. In addition, they interpreted it to be collagen, and that’s a pretty hardy protein. Dr. Rana from Reasons to believe, for example, thinks that collagen is durable enough for fragments of it to survive for millions of years.

In this current study of Ecphora fossils, however, the researchers didn’t find fragments. They found essentially intact proteins. Also, these shell-binding proteins shouldn’t be as durable as collagen, because they don’t have the same triple-helix structure. It seems to me that if you want to believe these fossils are millions of years old, you need to come up with some mechanism by which proteins can stay intact for so long.

Now I do have to point out two things. First, there was probably some decay in the proteins of these fossils, because the chemical analysis indicated that they didn’t have as much nitrogen in them as they should have. I would suspect that means some of the proteins had decayed, but others had not. Second, most fossilized mollusk shells are chalky white, which probably means they don’t contain any intact proteins. As a result, it is reasonable to conclude that there is something about Ecphora shells that helps them preserve their proteins. I hope more analysis eventually finds the process by which such preservation takes place, because that would help us get a better handle on the upper age limit of such fossils.


1. J.R. Nance, J.T. Armstrong, G.D. Cody, M.L. Fogel, and R.M. Hazen, Preserved macroscopic polymeric sheets of shell-binding protein in the Middle Miocene (8 to 18 Ma) gastropod Ecphora, Geochemical Perspective Letters 1:1-9, 2015 doi:10.7185/geochemlet.150
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2. Nielson-Marsh, Christina, et al. , “Biomolecules in fossil remains: Multidisciplinary approach to endurance,” The Biochemist, 12-14, June 2002
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3. Robert R. Reisz, Timothy D. Huang, Eric M. Roberts, ShinRung Peng, Corwin Sullivan, Koen Stein, Aaron R. H. LeBlanc, DarBin Shieh, RongSeng Chang, ChengCheng Chiang, Chuanwei Yang, and Shiming Zhong, “Embryology of Early Jurassic dinosaur from China with evidence of preserved organic remains,” Nature 496:210–214, 2013


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Dino Soft Tissue Confirms Creationist Prediction

Gleanings from the original paper show discoverers excited but surprised. Creationists are excited and gratified.
Yesterday’s announcement of dinosaur soft tissue in Nature Communications by scientists from Imperial College London sets a new high hurdle for critics. It’s not really news, since soft tissue in dinosaur bones has been reported for over a decade now (see Bob Enyart’s list of journal papers).  This new paper, however, is noteworthy in many respects that will challenge naysayers:

The team used ordinary, common bones from museum specimens. “Models proposed to account for such preservation indicate that it should be the exception rather than the rule,” they noted. “.…Here, we examined eight dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous period,none of which are exceptionally preserved.

The outside of the bones gave no hint of what was inside. “Incredibly, none of the samples showed external indicators of exceptional preservation and this strongly suggests that the preservation of soft tissues and even proteins is a more common phenomenon than previously accepted.”

The bones they sampled came from both major classes of dinosaurs. “Specimens representing both major dinosaurian clades (Ornithischia [bird-hipped] and Saurischia [lizard-hipped]) and different osteological elements were chosen.”

The bones came from different parts of the anatomy. “…an ungual claw of an indeterminate theropod dinosaur…”, “… a hadrosaurid tibia,” “an astragalus of a hadrosaurid” and others.

The team took great pains to prevent contamination. “The sections were obtained from the interior of each sample, ruling out modern surface contamination.” Again, “this method rules out the possibility of modern contamination, as the surface exposed is inaccessible to any contaminant.”

The team used multiple methods for observationSEMTEM, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and focused ion beam (FIB) mass spectrometry.  “These results show that to determine the presence of soft tissue in fossils a new synergistic approach needs to be applied where micro/nano-analytical methods are utilized to their full potential.”

They used controls by running the same tests with rabbit bone, another bone lacking the fibers, emu blood and a copper grid. “Sections were obtained from an agglomeration of erythrocyte-like structures and cement surrounding these from specimen NHMUK R12562, fixed emu blood, three fossils showing calcified fibres (NHMUK R4493NHMUK R4249,NHMUK R4864), rabbit bone and a fossil not presenting sign of calcified fibres (NHMUKR12562). As a control, a mass spectrum from the copper grid holding the samples was also obtained.”

Six of the eight samples contained soft tissue. “.…in this study, putative soft tissue (either erythrocyte-like structures, collagen-like, fibrous structures or amorphous carbon-rich structures (Supplementary Fig. 7)) was observed in six of our eight dinosaur specimens(Supplementary Table 1).”

Two distinct kinds of soft tissue were reported: collagen and red blood cells. “In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains .… Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood.”

The collagen structure had not degraded; it still displayed the quaternary structure characteristic of collagen’s triple-helix configuration. “One sample (NHMUK R4493) also showed, for the first time in a dinosaur bone, a clear ~67 nm banding, that is typical of the banding observed in collagen (Fig. 3e), for the length of the preserved fibre.” The fibers are obvious from the electron micrographs shown in the paper and the popular news.

Amino acids were detected that are characteristic of collagen: “The positive mass spectrum obtained from NHMUK R4493 showed peaks corresponding to fragments of theamino acids glycine, alanine, proline and others.… Detection of fragments of the amino acids normally found in collagen supports the results obtained from TEM analysis where the ~67 nm banding is consistent with potential preservation of the original quaternary structure of the protein.”

Blood cells were found. Though shrunken in size, this confirms Schweitzer’s original claim of finding blood cells. “The spectra obtained from four different regions of the dinosaur bone containing erythrocyte-like structures are surprisingly similar to the spectra obtained from emu blood.” Why would the dinosaur cells be smaller? “Within the dinosaur samples on average, the erythrocyte-like structures are ~2 μm in length. This is somewhat smaller than erythrocytes of birds, which range from 9 to 15 μm in length; emu blood cells in our sample were 9±2 μm (n=17). The structures consistent with putative erythrocytes in the fossilcould well have been deformed and it is quite probable that these structures have undergone some shrinkage during fossilization.”
Another standout feature of this paper is the undercurrent of emotion. Scientific papers tend to be stodgy and understated in tone. These scientists used “exciting” twice, and a scattering of other “surprise” words:

Therefore, the observation of a ~67-nm banding in the fibrous structures of fossilized samples here is very exciting, as it is consistent with a preservation of the ultrastructure of putative collagen fibres over a time period of 75 million years. Before this finding, the oldest undegraded collagen recorded (based on mass spectrometry sequencing and peptide fingerprinting) was about 4 million years old.

The common preservation of soft tissues could pave the way for cellular investigations of extinct animals, shedding light on aspects of physiology and behaviour that have been previously inaccessible to palaeontologists and inaugurating a new and exciting way to do paleontology.

Unexpectedly, from three of the samples (NHMUK R4493NHMUK R4249 and NHMUKR4243TEM micrographs showed obvious fibrous structures (Fig. 3a,b,c and Supplementary Fig. 10) containing carbon

The spectra obtained from the erythrocyte-like structures are surprisingly similar to the spectra obtained from the whole blood of an extant emu.
The paper is timely, seeing that the latest dinosaur movie “Jurassic World” hits the theaters in two days. Reporters, so far, are sticking to their story that the evidence merely demonstrates that soft tissue can last for 75 million years.  This estimate, however, is about 18 times longer than the previous “expert” opinion about the longevity of collagen, especially in its quaternary structure. Can this giant leap be simply assumed? Four million years was already a stretch for many who said soft tissue degrades quickly after death. Moreover, they thought it could only be preserved for 4my under exceptional conditions of preservation—not on common bones in museum collections.
Another noteworthy discovery from the current paper is “structures enriched in carbon.” They write, “Elemental analysis using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDSestablished that all these structures are enriched in carbon, in contrast with the surrounding denser tissue/cement.” This raises the possibility of running carbon-14 tests on the samples. None of the authors or reporters mentioned this rather obvious follow-up step. If the bones were older than about 100,000 years, there should be no carbon-14 at all remaining, due to its 5,730-year half-life.

Bob Enyart discusses this paper with CEH editor David Coppedge in a special edition of his radio show today (June 10).

Bob Enyart keeps a list of objects containing carbon-14 that should have none, such as coal, diamonds and other “dinosaur-era” fossils. A few years ago, he spoke with famous dinosaur hunter Jack Horner, who was the inspiration for the scientist in Jurassic Park, and consultant on all the Spielberg dinosaur movies. When Enyart offered him $23,000 to carbon-date the soft tissue in his T. rex, he refused the generous grant and donation to his museum. Recognizing that Enyart is a creationist, he revealed his real reason: “The spin you guys could get out of this,” he admitted, “would not help us.” But it isn’t spin! It’s a scientific test. Who is interested in facts as opposed to spin? You can hear the whole conversation here.
The world’s leading scientists are less scientific than this pastor in Denver. Enyart keepslists of predictions by creation scientists, many of which have been confirmed. This paper now confirms #2 of his dinosaur soft tissue predictions: “For now, dinosaur tissue will be found not only in rare circumstances, but rather easily, i.e., when looked for.” Prediction confirmed! He was spot on. Did the secular evolutionists predict this? No! They were totally surprised (see the reactions in yesterday’s post). His lists also show that DNA from dinosaurs has already been found, contrary to what the reporters on the current story are saying.
Sooner or later, someone will do a carbon-14 test on dinosaur soft tissue. If there is any C-14 found at all, it will defeat the geologic column with its “Age of dinosaurs” ending millions of years ago. Don’t be alarmed if the age comes out to tens or hundreds of thousands of years, because the error bars go out of control beyond dates that can be checked against recorded history, and creationists expect different atmospheric conditions in the pre-Flood world. The point is that C-14 should be completely absent from dinosaur bone—unless dinosaurs died only thousands of years ago, not millions. That’s the Genesis Flood prediction. Want to gamble on who will be right?
We want to see a fair, unbiased suite of accurate carbon-14 tests on dinosaur soft tissue. Bring it on. We’ll see who is interested in empirical science.

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Fibres and cellular structures preserved in 75-million–year-old dinosaur specimens 1

Exceptionally preserved organic remains are known throughout the vertebrate fossil record, and recently, evidence has emerged that such soft tissue might contain original components. We examined samples from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones using nano-analytical techniques; the bones are not exceptionally preserved and show no external indication of soft tissue. In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains displaying ~67 nm banding, indicating the possible preservation of the original quaternary structure. Using ToF-SIMS, we identify amino-acid fragments typical of collagen fibrils. Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood. Using advanced material characterization approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals.

The preservation of vertebrate soft tissue has long been recognized and documented in exceptionally preserved fossils1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Recent research has suggested that original components of soft tissues such as skin1, 10, feathers and other integumentary structures2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and muscle fibres11, 12 may be preserved in these exceptional fossils. For example, still-soft, flexible material was recovered after demineralization of well-preserved bones from the Late Cretaceous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus13, whereas proteinaceous material was found to be preserved in another dinosaur, Brachylophosaurus14. Haemoglobin fragments were found in the abdomen of a beautifully preserved Eocene mosquito15, and degraded eumelanin was recovered in the integument of an Eocene turtle16.
Models proposed to account for such preservation indicate that it should be the exception rather than the rule11, 12, 17, 18, 19. In particular, it has long been accepted that protein molecules decay in relatively short periods of time and cannot be preserved for longer than 4 million years19, 20. Therefore, even in cases where organic material is preserved, it is generally accepted that only parts of original proteins are preserved15, 16 and that the full tertiary or quaternary structure has been lost.
Here, we examined eight dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous period, none of which are exceptionally preserved. We used electron microscopy and a focused ion beam (FIB), as part of a novel method to prepare samples for mass spectrometry. First, with a scanning electron microscope (SEM), we observed, in four different samples, structures resembling calcified collagen fibres from modern bone; in three other samples, structures enriched in carbon; and in two of our samples, structures that resemble erythrocytes from birds. Serial sectioning of one sample presenting fibres and of one presenting the erythrocyte-like structures revealed that these fibres are less dense than the matrix surrounding them and that an internal structure is present inside the erythrocyte-like structures. With a transmission electron microscope (TEM) we observed that the fibres show ~67 nm banding, which could possibly be considered collagen fibre remains. Finally, using mass spectrometry, we found peaks that are consistent with fragments of amino acids present in collagen. The spectra obtained from the erythrocyte-like structures are surprisingly similar to the spectra obtained from the whole blood of an extant emu.
This synergistic approach to the application of the state-of-the-art materials analysis has therefore demonstrated utility in the study of fossils. A better understanding of the preservation of soft tissues and the discovery of these in ordinary, unexceptionally preserved fossils, could pave the way for biochemical and cellular investigations of the remains of extinct animals, shedding light on aspects of their physiology and behaviour that have been previously inaccessible to palaeontologists.

Results and Discussion

SEM analysis

We examined fossilized bones samples using SEM from eight dinosaur specimens (Supplementary Table 1) that show no external indication of soft tissue. Density-dependent colour SEM21 obtained from the surface of minute pieces broken off from samples with tweezers revealed numerous low-density structures suggestive of soft tissue in sample NHMUK (Natural History Museum, London, UK) R12562, an ungual claw of an indeterminate theropod dinosaur (Fig. 1 and Supplementary Figs 1,3,4). Among these structures ovoid structures highly reminiscent of avian erythrocytes22, 23 (Fig. 1a,b) were imaged and ranged in length from 1.2 to 3.2 μm (average 1.8±0.4, n=35). In addition to the erythocyte-like structures, in four other specimens the SEM analysis also showed fibrous structures similar to calcified collagen fibres found in modern bone24, 25, 26 (Fig. 1c,d, Supplementary Table 1 and Supplementary Fig. 5).
Figure 1: Density-dependent colour scanning electron micrographs of samples of NHMUK R12562, an ungual claw of an indeterminate theropod dinosaur, and NHMUK R4493, ribs from an indeterminate dinosaur.

Elemental analysis using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) established that all these structures are enriched in carbon, in contrast with the surrounding denser tissue/cement, which is composed of carbon, oxygen, iron, silicon and aluminum (Supplementary Fig. 6). Martill and Unwin27 suggested that iron might be expected when looking for blood in fossils, and in a recent study, Greenwalt et al.15 found haemoglobin-derived porphyrin in the abdomen of a blood-engorged Eocene mosquito. Analysis of the material from the mosquito abdomen suggested it is 9% iron by weight. Given that red blood cells ordinarily contain only around 0.3% iron by weight, Greenwalt et al. suggested the unusual high percentage of iron measured may be due to a taphonomic concentration15. Our EDS analysis of the erythrocyte-like structures in sample NHMUK R12562 shows that iron is present in higher quantities in areas of the fossilized bone where no erythrocyte-like structures are preserved. This is to be expected because an iron concentration of only 0.3% by weight typical of a red blood cell is below the detection limit of EDS28. To confirm this hypothesis, we carried out EDS on emu blood and also did not detect iron, thus confirming the detection limit of the technique (Supplementary Fig. 7).

Internal structures investigated by FIB

To evaluate the internal structure of the features imaged by SEM, we initially used a FIB to section the erythrocyte-like structures from NHMUK R12562 and fibrous structures present in NHMUK R4493, rib fragments from an indeterminate dinosaur (Supplementary Fig. 1). Interestingly, denser structures (as imaged by the backscattering detector) were observed inside the erythrocyte-like structures (Figs 2a,b). To further investigate these features, three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of serial sections of an agglomeration of erythrocyte-like structures (Fig. 2cand Supplementary Movie 1) showed that each was concave, whereas the dense internal features resembled nuclei and could be clearly distinguished within each of them.

The serial sections from NHMUK R4493 showed less dense linear zones surrounded by a denser matrix within the samples (Fig. 2d). 3D reconstruction of the less dense zones (Fig. 2e andSupplementary Movie 2) clearly showed that these are 3D fibres with an average diameter of 54±9 nm (n=30) and are preferentially aligned in a specific direction (Supplementary Fig. Cool.

TEM analysis

To evaluate the ultrastructure of these fibres, TEM was carried out on sections from NHMUK R4493, NHMUK R4243, an astragalus of a hadrosaurid, NHMUK R4249, an ungual phalanx of a hadrosaurid and NHMUK R4864, a hadrosaurid tibia (as a control, rabbit bone (Supplementary Fig. 9) was also prepared using the same method). All samples were prepared by FIB, a method that would preserve the mineral and organic material21. The sections were obtained from the interior of each sample, ruling out modern surface contamination. Unexpectedly, from three of the samples (NHMUK R4493, NHMUK R4249 and NHMUK R4243) TEM micrographs showed obvious fibrous structures (Fig. 3a,b,c and Supplementary Fig. 10) containing carbon (Fig. 3c,d). One sample (NHMUK R4493) also showed, for the first time in a dinosaur bone, a clear ~67 nm banding, that is typical of the banding observed in collagen (Fig. 3e), for the length of the preserved fibre.
Figure 3: Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) analysis of NHMUK R4493.

(a) Bright-field STEM micrograph depicting fibre fragments showing a banded pattern consistent with banding typically observed in collagen fibrils. The arrow indicates the fibre analysed in e and f. Scale bar, 200 nm. (b) Dark-field STEM micrograph showing detail of fibres in a. Scale bar, 100 nm. (c) STEM of fibre analysed by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) indicating spectra locations. Scale bar, 50 nm. (d) EELS spectra showing a carbon peak on the fibre. A smaller peak is seen on the adjacent material. (e) Grey intensity distribution over fibre (indicated by the arrow) in a. Vertical lines in red are spaced 67 nm apart and generally correspond with peaks in grey intensity. (f) Periodicity characterization of e confirming the ~67 nm banding. (g) Diagram representing the structure of a generic collagen molecule that produces 67 nm banding; I banded collagen fibrils surrounded by bone mineral matrix; II individual fibrils are composed of numerous collagen molecules arranged to produce 67 nm banding; III the canonical collagen triple helix.

In modern day bone collagen, the ~67 nm banding is considered a diagnostic ultrastructure characteristic and arises from the arrangement of fibrils to form the quaternary structure of the collagen protein29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 (Fig. 3f). Although 67 nm banding can be considered, in some cases, a finger print of specific proteins, this method is not able to show the chemical composition of the structures imaged. If collagen is completely degraded, this banding is no longer seen, due to loss of the quaternary structure of the protein. Therefore, the observation of a ~67-nm banding in the fibrous structures of fossilized samples here is very exciting, as it is consistent with a preservation of the ultrastructure of putative collagen fibres over a time period of 75 million years. Before this finding, the oldest undegraded collagen recorded (based on mass spectrometry sequencing and peptide fingerprinting) was about 4 million years old20.

Mass spectrometry analysis

Finally, a thick section (~20 × 15 × 5 μm3) of samples was extracted using FIB (see Fig. 4 for details of sample preparation) and analysed with Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to probe for the presence of amino acids. Sections were obtained from an agglomeration of erythrocyte-like structures and cement surrounding these from specimen NHMUK R12562, fixed emu blood, three fossils showing calcified fibres (NHMUK R4493, NHMUK R4249, NHMUK R4864), rabbit bone and a fossil not presenting sign of calcified fibres (NHMUK R12562). As a control, a mass spectrum from the copper grid holding the samples was also obtained.
Figure 4: Sample preparation by focused ion beam (FIB) for mass spectroscopy analyses of NHMUK R4493, NHMUK R12562 and fixed emu blood.

Extraction of a fresh surface for ToF-SIMS analysis by the FIB placed inside the electron microscope guarantees correct localization of sampling and provides a clean, smooth surface for analysis that eliminates topographical artefacts common to ToF-SIMS measurements42. Moreover, in the case of the cement from specimen NHMUK R12562 and NHMUK R4493 (where the bone was directly sampled), this method rules out the possibility of modern contamination, as the surface exposed is inaccessible to any contaminant.
The positive mass spectrum obtained from NHMUK R4493 showed peaks corresponding to fragments of the amino acids glycine, alanine, proline and others14, 43, 44 (Fig. 5 andSupplementary Fig. 11; for attribution of peaks see Supplementary Table 2). Moreover, several peaks present in the spectrum from rabbit bone and the fossil samples showing calcified fibres are not present in the results for the fossil without calcified fibres or on the negative control from the copper grid holding the samples (Supplementary Figs 12 and 13). Detection of fragments of the amino acids normally found in collagen supports the results obtained from TEM analysis where the ~67 nm banding is consistent with potential preservation of the original quaternary structure of the protein.
Figure 5: Mass spectra detail of NHMUK R4249 (sample with banded fibres), NHMUK R4493 (sample with 67 nm banded fibres) and NHMUK R12562 cement.

(ad and g) Peaks are associated with glycine fragments. (be and h) Peaks are related to alanine fragments. (cf and i) Peaks are related to proline fragments.

The positive mass spectra obtained from the erythrocyte-like structures of NHMUK R12562 were compared with spectra obtained from emu blood fixed in paraformaldehyde and with the cement surrounding the structures (Fig. 6). The spectra obtained from four different regions of the dinosaur bone containing erythrocyte-like structures are surprisingly similar to the spectra obtained from emu blood.
Figure 6: Mass spectra of fixed emu blood, erythrocyte-like structures present in NHMUK R12562 and cement surrounding these erythrocyte-like structures, all prepared by FIB.

(a) Mass spectrum of emu blood with inset detailed region between 460 and 475 m/z. (b) Mass spectrum of erythrocyte-like structures present in NHMUK R12562, with inset detailed region between 460 and 475 m/z. (c) Mass spectrum of cement surrounding the erythrocyte-like structures, with inset detailed region between 460 and 475 m/z. Blue arrows indicate the regions of main peaks in each spectrum that are present only in the mass spectra of fixed emu blood and erythrocyte-like structures. Red arrows indicate the regions of main peaks in each spectrum that are present only in the mass spectra of erythrocyte-like structures and cement surrounding erythrocyte-like structures

As expected, spectra obtained from emu blood (Fig. 6a) indicate the presence of several components, as the spectra were obtained from sections that comprised whole blood. Some of the main peaks could be tentatively assigned to components present in whole blood such as: 318m/z to folic acid45; 462 m/z to hydroxycholesterol46, 47 and the peak at 572 m/z to ceramide (usually present in cell membranes48). The same pattern of peaks can be seen from the spectra obtained from the erythrocyte-like structures (Fig. 6b) and this is clearer when a higher magnification is applied to those spectra (Fig. 6a,b inset). Moreover, it is clear that the mass spectrum from the cement surrounding erythrocyte-like structures (Fig. 6c) is different from both the spectrum from erythrocyte-like structures and that from emu blood. It is particularly interesting that the mass spectrum from the erythrocyte-like structures has some features of both the mass spectra from emu blood and cement (Fig. 6b).
The presence of several protein residues preserved in the erythrocyte-like structures of NHMUK R12562 could explain differences between the spectra obtained by us and previous spectra obtained from fossilized blood samples such as that obtained by Greenwalt et al.15, where only haemoglobin-derived porphyrin was preserved in the fossil record. Finally, it is clear that the spectrum from cement is different from the spectra obtained from emu blood and from erythrocyte-like structures. Similarities between cement and the erythrocyte-like structures are expected because the cement is also present in the sample of the erythrocyte-like structures and fragments of the putative proteins are likely present in the cement, even if they cannot be visualized by electron microscopy. The mass spectra obtained from emu whole blood are slightly different in comparison with those of the erythrocyte-like structures, which is to be expected because of the presence of organic components derived from additional blood proteins that have not degraded in the emu sample, but are absent in the erythrocyte-like structures, and also because the emu blood was fixed with paraformaldehyde.
Partial least square—discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) of mass spectra from four dinosaur regions presenting the erythrocyte-like structures samples and four emu samples, collected from different regions and from a cement sample was carried out. The cross-validated PLS-DA were carried out in the region between 300 and 700 m/z (stressing, any organic differences between the components of the samples (Supplementary Figs 14 and 15)). The spectra from emu blood samples and those from areas of NHMUK R12562 containing erythrocyte-like structures are enclosed within the 95% confidence ellipse and, as a group, may be compared with the cement sample, which falls outside the ellipse. This is another indication that the biochemical fingerprints of the spectra of emu blood samples and of areas of NHMUK R12562 containing erythrocyte-like structures are very much alike.
Within the dinosaur samples on average, the erythrocyte-like structures are ~2 μm in length. This is somewhat smaller than erythrocytes of birds, which range from 9 to 15 μm in length22, 49; emu blood cells in our sample were 9±2 μm (n=17). The structures consistent with putative erythrocytes in the fossil could well have been deformed and it is quite probable that these structures have undergone some shrinkage during fossilization.
Red blood cell size is known to correlate with metabolic rate in many vertebrate clades, including reptiles and birds49. Discoveries of red blood cells in a range of dinosaur taxa offer a potential independent method of assessing relative metabolic rates and may help to ascertain when and how the transition from ectothermy to endothermy took place on the avian stem lineage.
The potential for future research into the metabolic rate of extinct animals based on erythrocytes is promising because in this study, putative soft tissue (either erythrocyte-like structures, collagen-like, fibrous structures or amorphous carbon-rich structures (Supplementary Fig. 7)) was observed in six of our eight dinosaur specimens (Supplementary Table 1). Incredibly, none of the samples showed external indicators of exceptional preservation and this strongly suggests that the preservation of soft tissues and even proteins is a more common phenomenon than previously accepted.
These results show that to determine the presence of soft tissue in fossils a new synergistic approach needs to be applied where micro/nano-analytical methods are utilized to their full potential.
The common preservation of soft tissues could pave the way for cellular investigations of extinct animals, shedding light on aspects of physiology and behaviour that have been previously inaccessible to palaeontologists and inaugurating a new and exciting way to do paleontology.


Sample collection and preparation

Eight dinosaur specimens were selected for sampling (Supplementary Table 1). Specimens from the Dinosaur Park Formation and Lance Formation were selected because pore spaces in the trabecular bone tissue were not infilled with matrix or cement, making the removal of minute (~0.5 × 0.5 mm2) samples of bone easier. Specimens representing both major dinosaurian clades (Ornithischia and Saurischia) and different osteological elements were chosen. Finally, specimens with broken edges were chosen to avoid contamination from glues and consolidants that may have been applied to the bone surface. Samples were taken using tweezers, with which a small piece of the original sample was broken off, providing a newly exposed surface for analysis.

SEM analyses and FIB preparation

Samples were secured to an aluminium sample holder with carbon tape and carbon paste, which was then coated with 5 nm carbon (Quorum Technologies Turbo-Pumped Thermal Evaporators model K975X) and 5 nm chromium in a sputter coater (Quorum Technologies Sputter Coater model K575X).

SEM and EDS analyses

Following the coating procedure, samples were imaged by SEM (Gemini 1525 FEGSEM) operating at 10 kV. The instrument was equipped with both an inlens detector, which recorded secondary electrons, and a backscatter electron detector. Density-dependent colour SEM images were obtained by imaging a region in inlens mode and subsequently imaging the same region in backscatter mode. Using ImageJ software, both images were stacked and the inlens image was assigned to the green channel, whereas the backscatter image was assigned to the red channel (for more details, see Supplementary Fig. 3). EDS were obtained in the regions of interest using the point and shoot mode, which focuses the beam on the selected region and provides a spatial resolution of 1 μm.

FIB and SEM analyses

Following SEM analysis, samples were transferred to a SEM/Focused Ion Beam (Carl Zeiss—Auriga) with a gallium ion beam operated at 30 kV. Selected regions were milled using 4 nA current. Subsequently, the region exposed to milling was polished with 50 pA current and imaged by a backscattering detector with the electron beam operating at 1.5 V. The serial sections were obtained by sectioning samples at intervals of 20 nm (erythrocyte-like structures) or 10 nm (fossilized bone) and reconstructed using the Amira `software segmentation editor function.

FIB and TEM sample preparation

Samples were transferred to a FIB (FEI FIB200-SIMS or a SEM/Focused Ion Beam Helios NanoLa 50 series Dual Beam). A region of 20 × 2 μm2 was coated with a 2-μm-thick platinum layer (93 pA at 30 kV) to protect the sample surface from the gallium beam during the milling and polishing processes. Two trenches of 20 × 10 × 10 μm3 (length × height × depth) were made using currents between 2.8 and 21 nA parallel to the platinum protective layer, creating a section with dimensions of approximately 20 × 15 × 5 μm3. The section was then thinned with the beam until it was 1 μm thick, using beam currents between 93 pA and 2.8 nA. After the rough thinning, the base of the section was cut using a current of 2.8 nA. With a micromanipulator needle, the resulting section was then attached to a FIB lift-out grid using platinum. The section was then thinned again, until it was ~100-nm thick using beam currents between 28 pA and 2.8 nA. Finally, the resulting surface was polished with a gallium beam operated at 2 kV.

Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry

After sectioning, the FIB grid and the sample were introduced into a FEI FIB200-SIMS and IONTOF TOF.SIMS5-Qtac100 LEIS. The mass spectrum was obtained on the face (~15 × 20 μm2area) of the section presented on Fig. 4a panel IV, d and f. High-resolution mass spectra were obtained from the samples using the analytical Bi3+ ion beam. Positive secondary ions were collected at ~0.30 pA and 128 × 128 pixels were collected in each of the scanned areas for 64 s. Internal calibration of the mass spectra was carried out using the H+, C+, CH+, CH2+ and C3H2+ion peaks.

EDS analyses and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS)

Samples extracted and prepared by FIB were imaged and analysed at 200 kV on a JEOL 2100FX TEM (JEOL). EDS and EELS elemental analyses were obtained in TEM operating at 200 kV.

Partial least squares—discriminant analysis

PLS-DA is an inverse least squares multivariate discrimination method, which is used for classification. It encompasses the PLS regression properties to fine-tune a principal component analysis model in order to highlight differences between multivariate data sets of different classes.50 Mass spectra of four samples with erythrocyte-like structures from dinosaur and four emu blood samples were imported to the PLS tool box (Eigenvector Research, Inc.) in Matlab for PLS-DA classification. The spectra were normalized and mean centred before being calculated through the model.51 As independent validation was not possible, leave-one-measurement-out cross-validation was used to validate and optimize the PLS-DA model complexity.

(ab) SEM using a backscattering detector showing cross-sections of erythrocyte-like structures c in NHMUK R12562; arrows indicate dense internal material; scale bar, 0.5μm. (c) 3D reconstruction of serial sections of an agglomeration of erythrocyte-like structures showing: I, upwardly concave external morphology and II, dense structures observed in the interior of the erythrocyte-like structures. (d) SEM using a backscattering detector from section of fossilized bone of NHMUK R4493; arrows indicate less dense zones inside bone matrix; scale bar, 1μm. (e) 3D reconstruction of the less dense zones in d, showing elongated, fibre-like morphology and alignment. Random colours assigned to individual fibres to differentiate between them.

(a) NHMUK R4493 with sampled location. (b) SEM of FIB sample preparation sequence: I, sample surface; II, platinum protecting layer; III, trench milling; IV, sample on copper grid holder ready for mass spectra acquisition. (c) NHMUK R12562 with sampling location. Scale bar, 5μm. (d) Sample on grid holder before mass spectra acquisition. Scale bar, 5μm. (e) SEM image of fixed emu blood with sampling location. (f) Sample on grid holder before mass spectra acquisition. Scale bar, 5μm. The mass spectrum was obtained from the fresh surface in IV (d and f).


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Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail

The very labile (decay-prone), non-biomineralized, tissues of organisms are rarely fossilized. Occurrences thereof are invaluable supplements to a body fossil record dominated by biomineralized tissues, which alone are extremely unrepresentative of diversity in modern and ancient ecosystems. Fossil examples of extremely labile tissues (e.g. muscle) that exhibit a high degree of morphological fidelity are almost invariably replicated by inorganic compounds such as calcium phosphate. There is no consensus as to whether such tissues can be preserved with similar morphological fidelity as organic remains, except when enclosed inside amber. Here, we report fossilized musculature from an approximately 18 Myr old salamander from lacustrine sediments of Ribesalbes, Spain. The muscle is preserved organically, in three dimensions, and with the highest fidelity of morphological preservation yet documented from the fossil record. Preserved ultrastructural details include myofilaments, endomysium, layering within the sarcolemma, and endomysial circulatory vessels infilled with blood. Slight differences between the fossil tissues and their counterparts in extant amphibians reflect limited degradation during fossilization. Our results provide unequivocal evidence that high-fidelity organic preservation of extremely labile tissues is not only feasible, but likely to be common. This is supported by the discovery of similarly preserved tissues in the Eocene Grube Messel biota.

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T. Rex Blood?: Expert Q&A 1

On July 31, 2007, Mary Schweitzer answered questions about her discovery of what may be T. rex blood vessels and red blood cells, the implications of that and similar discoveries, and other matters dinosaurian and paleontological.

Q: It looks as if the T. rex may have nucleated red cells. Is this so?
Judith Chester, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Mary Schweitzer: Well, there are small, red structures within the vessels that look like nucleated red cells. So on the surface, this is a case of "if it looks like a duck…." But after 70 million years, just because something looks familiar doesn't mean that that is what it is. The fossil record can mimic many things, so without doing the chemistry to show that there are similarities to blood cells at the molecular level, I do not make any claims that they are cells.
However, we do know that, except for mammals, all living vertebrates (fish, frogs, birds, and reptiles) have nucleated red blood cells in circulation. Mammals are unique in having their blood cells "spit out" the nucleus before they go into circulation (unless there is a disease). So, because dinosaurs' closest relatives are crocodiles and birds, it makes sense that their blood cells would have been nucleated.
Q: What do you intend to do with the possible T. rex blood vessels if you find out that they contain T. rex DNA?Recie, Alorton, Illinois
Schweitzer: I don't work with DNA, and my lab is not equipped to work with ancient DNA—it is not as stringent as it needs to be. So I won't be doing anything with them. However, there are a lot of other questions those blood vessels raise, and that is what I am pursuing now. And again, we have not ruled out that the vessels are some kind of artifact. They look and act like vessels, and have all the characteristics, but until the chemistry shows what they are made of, I can't state definitively that they were vessels actually produced by the dinosaur.
Q: I have a stereomicroscope and I love looking at bugs and other stuff with it. What did it feel like when you first realized what you were looking at, I mean the dinosaur tissues? Did it blow your mind? Thanks so much for your answer!Olivia Tyson, Ottoson Middle School, 7th Grade, Arlington, Massachusetts
Schweitzer: Yeah, it did sort of "blow my mind." Still does. I spent about three weeks saying that I couldn't be seeing what it looked like I was seeing. I kept looking at them over and over, and I would get goosebumps. I kept thinking that there had to be some kind of mistake, and I had my technician repeat the studies over and over and over with new chunks of bone to be sure we could get the same results.
Q: The NOVA scienceNOW show and its Web site both state that these are possible blood vessels and possible red blood cells. When will you know if they definitely are, and if they are, what questions about T. rex(and perhaps other extinct animals) might that confirmation help answer?Anonymous
Schweitzer: I can't make any claims for those structures that appear to be like their modern counterparts until the chemistry reveals whether they are molecular remnants of the original structures, even if altered greatly, or if they are some kind of microbial pseudomorph or even some kind of as yet unknown biogeological process unrelated to structures or molecules produced by the dinosaur itself. If, for example, I were able to isolate those round red structures in the vessel and analyze them separately, and if I were to see any signals that are consistent with heme or hemoglobin, I would be much more likely to believe they are related to the dinosaur cells and proteins. For right now, I am assuming they are not.
They are pretty intriguing tho, aren't they?
Q: I found your work as shown on the NOVA scienceNOW program fascinating. Has your discovery of surviving soft tissues in fossilized bones sent other paleontologists scurrying into the field or into museum drawers to test more bones? Did it shake up your field?Lisa Ennis, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Schweitzer: Well, thanks! I find it really interesting too! But, so far as I know, no other dinosaur paleontologists are keen to do this. This is for a lot of reasons, of course, not the least of which is that when they have spent all that time and money exploring for, collecting, transporting, and preparing their dinosaurs, the thought of taking large chunks of the bone and dissolving them just doesn't seem all that—well, productive, I guess. I am not sure whether it "shook up the field" or not, that would be better put to one of my colleagues. I think they are all very appropriately just waiting to see how much information we really can get out of this material first.
Q: What does your discovery of soft tissues still surviving after many millions of years say about our understanding of how fossils become fossils? Will that understanding now have to be greatly revised? Also, did other paleontologists initially doubt your discovery, seeing how radical it was? Keep up the good work!Alexander McCurdy, East Blue Hill, Maine
Schweitzer: I think that our fundamental understanding of the fossilization process may be somewhat in need of revamping—but only if it can be shown that this material is original to the dinosaurs and not some unknown artifact. One thing I am focusing on in our lab is to try to tease out the pathways that would go from what we know of modern tissues and cells to whatever these structures have become. But in reality, although the mechanisms of fossilization have been presented to the public in relatively simplified form, we in the profession have always known that it is more complicated, and that microenvironments within a single bone can vary greatly, resulting in a highly varied preservation. This is just an extension of that, I guess.
As for an acceptance of this work, what needs to be realized is that it is the job of my colleagues to be very skeptical. That is how we keep one another in line! Peer review is crucial to the scientific process, and the skeptical opinion of my colleagues is something I rely on very much. They are probably not as skeptical as me though. I think many of them have a "let's just wait and see" attitude that is very, very appropriate. We have a saying that goes, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." That is what we are trying to come up with, and the community will wait until then to weigh in fully, I think. They will also wait until the work is repeated by other colleagues. Those are things that are necessary to validate our work.
Thanks for the encouragement. We are still plugging away.
Q: As I recall, you soaked fossils in a mild acid to dissolve the mineral deposits on the inside of the bones. Why does the acid not harm or dissolve the vessels as well, but instead leaves them intact and pliable?Paul Moffett, Indianapolis, Indiana
Schweitzer: That is a good question. The type of acid we use is very commonly applied to remove the mineral from modern bone to reveal the structural proteins that are so intimately linked to the mineral. It is a very mild acid and is more accurately a metal chelator than a true "acid." So it removes the mineral while leaving the protein intact, and it does not harm cell membranes or vessels in modern bone, so we hoped that it would not in our ancient material either.
Q: Why has it taken so long to extract or attempt to extract DNA from this tissue? Has it been tried and failed? I would think intact DNA, even in fragments, would be the most important finding from this soft tissue.Terence Milligan, Edgewater, New Jersey
Schweitzer: Well, it has taken so long because I don't work with ancient DNA and so have not tried to extract DNA. My lab does not meet the requirement of an ancient DNA lab. I am not particularly well-trained in DNA studies, and I personally think that it is much more informative and less risky to begin by demonstrating first ultrastructural preservation and then protein preservation.
Many in the scientific community believe that DNA is too labile to have possibly survived, even in tiny fragments, for 70 million years. It is more generally accepted that some proteins, like collagen, have a higher preservation potential than DNA. And my lab is more suited to do protein studies than to work with ancient DNA. Others are certainly welcome to try to obtain DNA from this or other dinosaurs. It probably won't be me directly, though if we get to the point where funding and equipment allow, I will certainly do the supportive work.
Q: From the first fossils found, what previously made scientists think dinosaurs were or are cold-blooded without having tissue and blood samples?Lydia Lloyd, Modesto, California
Schweitzer: Many of the first dinosaur scientists in fact proposed that these were active beasts, particularly the theropods. Some of the very early work by some artists show theropods in active poses (see for example Charles Knight). But we also knew from the bones that they were (and are) closely related to reptiles, and modern reptiles are cold-blooded. So it was largely an assumption that dinosaurs shared this trait, and that assumption dictated many of the questions asked about dinosaurs for many decades. This is true in many scientific fields actually.
And, in my own case, I was not looking for vessels and cells in the first dinosaur we found them in, because like every other paleontologist, I did not think there could possibly be any remnant of those structures surviving for that long. The vessels and soft tissues we discovered were actually the happy accident of looking for and trying to describe something else entirely.
Q: I have two pieces of amber with insects in them, and I've always been amazed that it's essentially the actual creatures still there after 20 million years. Did you feel something similar when you found the T. rex soft tissue? Does it bring the dinosaur and its world that much more alive to you than fossil bones can? I think I would get a shiver down my spine.Anonymous
Schweitzer: Yes, I spent about three weeks feeling like every day I was living in a science-fiction movie. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced in my professional career.
Q: Will science be able to use the discovered tissues to recreate living dinosaurs, a la Jurassic ParkGlenn Martin, Grand Junction, Colorado
Schweitzer: In my professional opinion, no. There are way too many obstacles beyond getting real dino DNA and proving that it is dinosaurian. That, believe it or not, would probably be the "easy" part, and we have not yet accomplished that. I am not exactly sure why anyone would want to do such a thing! Like the Jeff Goldbloom character in the movie says, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."
If you want more detail, check out a paper I wrote on this subject, available as a pdf at:
Q: Did the internal structures you found previously show up in X-ray and X-ray tomographs of dinosaur bones? If they did not, why not?
Also, in the Colgate University museum in about 1965, I saw fossilized clamshells that had had their limestone "shells" dissolved away to reveal an internal structure somewhat like a rib cage made of iron pyrites. Why was this apparently known method of dissolving fossilized material to reveal potential inner structures not used on other fossils before now?Hal Lane, Durham, North Carolina
Schweitzer: In answer to your first question, these structures we see are very, very tiny (the cells are about 20 microns), and again, if you don't think that they exist, why would you look? I think that part of the reason they were preserved is because they were covered with a mineral "shell," and therefore there would not be sufficient resolution or density difference to image with a standard X-ray or CT.
Regarding your second question, I sure don't have an answer for that. All we did was apply a very standard methodology that is commonly used to study modern bones. It wasn't really anything special. I think, if you look at the answer to the previous question, it has more to do with expectations. Many of the questions we ask as scientists are built upon accumulated wisdom and assumptions, and so fit within that framework. Sometimes we need to reevaluate those assumptions to make sure they are still valid, and this will happen more often as technology becomes more sensitive.
In addition, I would like to point out that a Polish researcher by the name of Roman Pawlicki was reporting cells similar to what we saw as early as the 1960s. But no one followed up on his work, and some of these findings were not published in widely read journals so may have been overlooked.
Q: Many creationists claim that the Earth is much younger than the evolutionists claim. Is there any possibility that your discoveries should make experts on both sides of the argument reevaluate the methods of established dating used in the field?Carl Baker, Billings, Montana
Schweitzer: Actually, my work doesn't say anything at all about the age of the Earth. As a scientist I can only speak to the data that exist. Having reviewed a great deal of data from many different disciplines, I see no reason at all to doubt the general scientific consensus that the Earth is about five or six billion years old. We deal with testable hypotheses in science, and many of the arguments made for a young Earth are not testable, nor is there any valid data to support a young Earth that stands up to peer review or scientific scrutiny. However, the fields of geology, nuclear physics, astronomy, paleontology, genetics, and evolutionary biology all speak to an ancient Earth. Our discoveries may make people reevaluate the longevity of molecules and the presumed pathways of molecular degradation, but they do not really deal at all with the age of the Earth.
Q: Do you feel dinosaurs were warm-blooded or cold-blooded, and what evidence supports each case?
Also, there seems to be a great deal of evidence that most dinosaurs could not live in today's gravity without total engineering failure of their body structures. What is your take on this?Robert Therriault, Sunnyvale, California
Schweitzer: In regards to your first question, I think that dinosaurs probably spanned a range of metabolic strategies. Most of the very early and very primitive dinosaurs already possess some characteristics we associate with an elevated metabolic rate. For example, only warm-blooded animals today are obligate bipeds, with upright posture (legs directly under the body, not splayed as in crocodiles, lizards, and turtles). Only warm-blooded animals have sustained and rapid growth or possess insulatory body coverings. All of these traits have been observed in some dinosaurs, although not all are features of all dinosaurs. I think that the evidence supports the idea that dinosaurs had a higher metabolic rate than modern lizards and snakes. Whether any or all dinosaurs attained the metabolic rates possessed by living birds is still open to debate.
We wrote a paper reviewing this evidence, if you want more information. To see an abstract, go to:
Re your second question, I do not know of any evidence in the peer-reviewed literature to support such a claim. The biomechanical evidence that I am familiar with shows that dinosaurs were remarkably efficient and well-adapted to their habitats, lifestyles, and environments. I can think of absolutely no arguments in any field that something so fundamental as the law of gravity has varied even slightly over the course of geological time. I would recommend papers by John Hutchinson and others that address biomechanical issues in dinosaurs.
Having seen many dinosaur fossils in my time, I think it is quite apparent that they were very, very successful, and I have seen no signs at all, even on the microscopic level, for engineering failure. And I think all research in physics supports the "gravitational constant." The principle of uniformitarianism guides historical sciences and states that "the present is the key to the past." Without that understanding, or invoking ever-changing conditions in which certain fundamental rules like gravity do not apply, we cannot ever understand or make statements about events that we can only observe indirectly. The evidence is very strong that by applying principles like the constancy of gravity or the speed of light, past events are understandable and future events predictable, and science moves forward. And these have not yet been disproven, so in my mind there is absolutely no reason to question that dinosaurs would have done just fine in today's gravity.
Q: I have two questions, if that's okay. What work are you up to now? Are you testing the bones of yet more types of animals than were reported on in the show and the NOVA scienceNOW Web article "Inside the Bones" (see Editors' Picks)?
Also, what does it take to do the kind of work you do? What kind of training would someone need to do it? Thanks for your time!Anonymous
Schweitzer: In answer to your first question, yes. We have been seeking to verify the extent of the phenomenon we observed in our "B. rex" by looking at a range of bones from other organisms, from dinosaurs in the Mesozoic to mammals and birds in modern times. See our 2007 Proceedings of the Royal Society paper, "Soft Tissue and Cellular Preservation in Vertebrate Skeletal Elements From the Cretaceous to the Present," an abstract of which is available at:
My research goals for the immediate future are to determine if any original remnant molecules comprise the structures that look like blood vessels and cells, and to try to characterize the chemical changes that took place to get from original, functional dinosaur material to what remains of this today. We have so much to learn about preservation, and about these wonderful beasts, I just can't wait.
Regarding your second question, I think it helps if you are slightly crazy. Other than that, I think a firm grounding in chemistry, biology, molecular biology, and evolutionary biology as well as a lot of chemistry. I also think you need to be willing to take chances and to think outside the box. And a deep passion for and love of the subject matter certainly helps in those dark times when nothing goes the way you think it should.


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Soft tissue and cellular preservation in vertebrate skeletal elements from the Cretaceous to the present 1

Soft tissues and cell-like microstructures derived from skeletal elements of a well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125) were represented by four components in fragments of demineralized cortical and/or medullary bone: flexible and fibrous bone matrix; transparent, hollow and pliable blood vessels; intravascular material, including in some cases, structures morphologically reminiscent of vertebrate red blood cells; and osteocytes with intracellular contents and flexible filipodia. The present study attempts to trace the occurrence of these four components in bone from specimens spanning multiple geological time periods and varied depositional environments. At least three of the four components persist in some skeletal elements of specimens dating to the Campanian. Fibrous bone matrix is more altered over time in morphology and less likely to persist than vessels and/or osteocytes. Vessels vary greatly in preservation, even within the same specimen, with some regions retaining pliability and other regions almost crystalline. Osteocytes also vary, with some retaining long filipodia and transparency, while others present with short and stubby filipodia and deeply pigmented nuclei, or are pigmented throughout with no nucleus visible. Alternative hypotheses are considered to explain the origin/source of observed materials. Finally, a two-part mechanism, involving first cross-linking of molecular components and subsequent mineralization, is proposed to explain the surprising presence of still-soft elements in fossil bone. These results suggest that present models of fossilization processes may be incomplete and that soft tissue elements may be more commonly preserved, even in older specimens, than previously thought. Additionally, in many cases, osteocytes with defined nuclei are preserved, and may represent an important source for informative molecular data.

Tissue and cells: moa, mammoth, and mastodon. (MOR OFT255, a–e) Moa. (a) Fibrous texture, embedded osteocytes and natural pigmentation of demineralized cortical bone. Vessels are not apparent in this image. (b) Interconnecting network of isolated, transparent vessels, with dark-bodied fungal spores visible within vessel lumen (arrows). Inset shows vessels emerging from digesting bone fragment. (c) Enzyme-resistant tissue associated with osteocyte cell bodies. (d) Isolated fragment of vessel shows natural pigmentation. (e) Transparent, round-bodied osteocyte (arrow) with radiating filipodia, still closely associated or attached to remnants of fibrous matrix. (MOR 604, f–j) Mammoth. (f) Demineralized mammoth skull fragment shows uneven pigmentation and osteocyte (arrow) with filipodia within fibrous matrix. (g) Flexible, deeply pigmented vessels with associated matrix (white) sheet material. Vascular contents appear as deeply pigmented microstructures. Inset shows vessel with similar pigmentation and internal microstructures, but crystalline, not flexible. (h) Flexible, fibrous matrix containing multiple pigmented osteocytes with interconnecting filipodia. (i) Vessel shows consistent wall thickness and intravascular material. (j) Orange-pigmented osteocyte with filipodia radiating outward into fibrous matrix. (MOR 605, k–p) Mastodon. (k) Fibrous texture of demineralized matrix encloses abundant, naturally pigmented osteocytes, with distinct nuclei and long filipodia extending into matrix fibres. (l) Fragmented and deeply pigmented crystalline vessel. Inset shows another vessel fragment with crystalline surface structure. (m–p) Osteocytes with interconnected filipodia, some showing distinct nuclei (p, arrow). Scale bars are as indicated.


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Hi, Folks - a HUGE shout-out to Tommy Hall and Heather Adam for your awesome donations!! THANKS! I am so excited about the way the news of this work is reaching around the world. Just yesterday I heard from folks in South Africa and a radio program in Seattle who want to interview me. Of course I will go anywhere and speak to any group about the stunning results of my microscopic study of dinosaur soft cells - please PASS THIS ON! We have the evolutionists on the run!
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Mark's paper published in
Acta Histochemica, a journal of cell and tissue research (M. H. Armitage and K. L. Anderson Acta Histochem. 115, 603–608; 2013).
A Journal of Structural Biochemistry, Cell and Tissue Imaging

Logic says the organics would break down over that timescale. So if scientists are finding tissue, blood, etc., then the age they are assigning to the fossils must be wrong. MUST be wrong.

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