Some material that flaked off a fossil in Alberta was not stone; it was dinosaur skin. Discoverers were excited and puzzled: how could it last so long?
Here’s how Mauricio Barbi of the University of Regina described their discovery, according to PhysOrg:
“As we excavated the fossil, I thought that we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary – this is real skin. Everyone involved with the excavation was incredibly excited and we started discussing research projects right away.”
But perhaps the greatest question Barbi is trying to answer at the CLS is how the fossil remained intact for around 70-million years.
“What’s not clear is what happened to this dinosaur and how it died,” he said. “There is something special about this fossil and the area where it was found, and I am going to find out what it is.”
The fossil was found in an area described as a “robust bone bed.” Barbi claimed it’s the only 3-dimensional dinosaur skin fossil in the world. According to the articles, the skin was preserved “almost intact,” with tissues that can be analyzed:
For the experiment, the sample is placed in the path of the infrared beam and light reflects off of it. During the experiment, chemical bonds of certain compounds will create different vibrations. For example, proteins, sugars and fats still found in the skin will create unique vibrational frequencies that scientists can measure.
“It is astonishing that we can get information like this from such an old sample,” said Tim May, CLS Mid-IR staff scientist. “Skin has fat and lots of dead cells along with many inorganic compounds. We can reflect the infrared beam off the sample and we can analyze the samples to give us very clear characteristics.”
They will be studying melanosomes (pigment cells) in the skin to try to determine what color the hadrosaur was.
Barbi promised he is going to find out what is so special about his fossil and the area in which it was found. His only hope is to abandon the millions-of-years Darwinian story. The reason the skin is intact, and its tissues can still be studied, is that it is recent—not 70 million years old. If he were to propose that explanation, though, his career would be over. So strong is the bias against Darwin skeptics (even stronger against old-earth skeptics), truth no longer matters. The primary goal of evolutionary geologists and paleontologists is to defend Charlie’s quaint Victorian myth against all the evidence the world throws at it.