“Can soft tissue survive 75 million years?” the caption in Science Magazine reads.
No, it can’t. That’s why this cannot be original dinosaur soft tissue, some evolutionists are claiming in a news article in Science Magazine by Robert F. Service: “Signs of ancient cells and proteins found in dinosaur fossils.” Creationists have been proclaiming this evidence for a decade since Mary Schweitzer and Jack Horner found soft, stretchy tissue in a T. rex femur in 2005 (see 60 Minutes video), but evolutionists have either denied it, explained it away, or ignored it. Can they ignore this news from America’s leading science journal?
Because this was found in 8 bones tested, Service states that soft tissue in dinosaur bones may be common:
The cupboards of the Natural History Museum in London hold spectacular dinosaur fossils, from 15-centimeter, serrated Tyrannosaurus rex teeth to a 4-meter-long hadrosaur tail. Now, researchers are reporting another spectacular find, buried in eight nondescript fossils from the same collection: what appear to be ancient red blood cells and fibers of ancient protein.
Using new methods to peer deep inside fossils, the study in this week’s issue of Nature Communications backs up previous, controversial reports of such structures in dinosaur bones. It also suggests that soft tissue preservation may be more common than anyone had guessed. “It’s encouraging,” especially because the proteins were found in what appear to be the most unremarkable, ordinary bones, says Matthew Collins, an archaeologist and biochemist at the University of York in the United Kingdom. But he and others caution that the team hasn’t proven beyond doubt that the structures do contain ancient proteins.
That’s right; they call it “encouraging,” as if paleontologists expected this or had not been denying it for a decade. This was the last thing evolutionists expected to find in bones thought tens of millions of years old. “Proteins commonly decay hundreds to thousands of years after an organism dies, but in rare cases they have been known to survive up to 3 million years,” Service continues. That’s far short of the 75 million Darwin years needed to explain these new bones. Schweitzer found collagen in dinosaur bone previously, but others had not been able to replicate that find till now—and the results are shocking:
What they found shocked them. Imaging the fresh-cut surfaces with scanning and transmission electron microscopes, “we didn’t see bone crystallites” as expected, Maidment says. “What we saw instead was soft tissue. It was completely unexpected. My initial response was these results are not real.”
The U.K. team tested more fossils and ran microscopic samples from what appear to be collagen fibers through a mass spectrometer to get the weight of the component molecules. The weights came back as identical to those of the three most common amino acids in collagen, the team reports.
The photo accompanying the article shows fibers that clearly look like collagen; they look nothing like pieces of rock or mineral. No DNA has been found yet, but co-discoverer Sarah Maidment is not ruling it out: “We haven’t found any in our fossils… however, I think it’s unwise to say we’ll never find any in [the] future” (BBC News). Sergio Bertazzo agrees: “It’s possible you could find fragments, but to find more than that? Who knows?” (The Guardian).
Creationists are not shocked, because they believe dinosaurs died in the Flood just a few thousand years ago, like the Bible says. Secularists have treated that as mythology ever since Darwin and Lyell made it fashionable to think in terms of millions of years of earth history. Who has the empirical evidence now? If the proteins are really from the dinosaur, it sets severe upper limits on the age of the material.
Service doesn’t say anything else about the apparent “red blood cells” in the specimens. He ends with a sprinkle of doubt that the proteins are even real:
But outsiders, including Schweitzer, say that the weights aren’t conclusive proof that the amino acids are real or that they came from a dinosaur rather than from bacteria or other contaminants. A different type of mass spectrometer that can provide the sequence of the amino acids in a protein fragment would strongly suggest the existence of collagen and replicate the earlier work, Collins says. Maidment says the team hopes to do such studies soon. If they succeed, the work may spur additional efforts to isolate dinosaur proteins and understand how they differed from those of their modern relatives.
Service never again addresses the question, “Can soft tissue survive 75 million years?” No theory is presented about how it could last more than a few hundred thousand years, or 3 million at best. The two responses in this paragraph are: (1) deny it’s real, or (2) see what it can tell us about evolution. If that’s all, creationists are bound to celebrate this latest announcement (just one of a string of similar findings) as a “See? We told you so!” moment.
The announcement comes just 3 days before “Jurassic World” hits the big screens around the world. The movie admits soft tissue exists, but claims that it can be preserved for millions of years by iron from hemoglobin in the dinosaur’s blood. This was a controversial claim by Mary Schweitzer in 2013 (11/16/13) that many other scientists find implausible (3/15/14).
Correction: our initial post said that Service’s article was in Nature; it was in Science Magazine. The finding itself was reported in Nature Communications.
Update 6/09/15: The news media are picking up on this story, suggesting it may get more traction this time around:
- Dinosaur blood cells extracted from 75-million-year-old fossil (New Scientist)
- Scientists out for dinosaur blood (PhysOrg)
- ‘Blood cells’ found in dino fossils (BBC News)
- Found: preserved dinosaur cells – but sadly scientists still can’t build Jurassic World (Gareth Dyke in The Conversation)
- Dinosaur fossil investigation unlocks possible soft tissue treasure trove (Science Daily)
- Scientists See Signs of Dinosaur Blood in 75-Million-Year-Old Fossils (NBC News)
- 75-million-year-old dinosaur blood and collagen discovered in fossil fragments (The Guardian)
- Paleontologists Discover Fossilized Dinosaur Blood (Popular Mechanics)
How are reporters treating the obvious age implications? None of them mention creationists, the Bible, or the Flood. None of them even questions the Darwin ages of the bones. The attitude seems to be, “Well, what do you know; dinosaur blood can last for 75 million years. Let’s see what we can learn from it about evolution.”
Perhaps the closest thing to skepticism is found in the last article: “the fossils contain some of their original biological proteins and amino acids—molecules that are thought to degrade completely after 4 million years,” the Popular Mechanics reporter says about statements by Susannah Maidment, the lead scientist at Imperial College London that published the findings. “‘This pushes that envelope back about 71 million years,” Maidment says. She adds that how or why these biological tissues managed to last for so long is a complete mystery. ‘We can only speculate, and there’s a lot of research that will be needed to explain how this sort of preservation has occurred.’” Her initial reaction is instructive: ““It was a total surprise,” Maidment says. “As a paleontologist my first thought was, ‘This is silly, there is absolutely no way this could be dinosaur blood’.”
Update 6/09/15: The original paper in Nature Communications is open access, meaning everyone can read it and look at the evidence. The press release from Imperial College London is cautious: “potentially be red blood cells although the researchers caution that further evidence would be needed to confirm that the structures do not have another origin.” Maidment says, “Our study is helping us to see that preserved soft tissue may be more widespread in dinosaur fossils than we originally thought,” since their discoveries were made in “scrappy, poorly preserved fossils” instead of exceptionally-preserved ones. This suggests that a treasure trove of additional soft tissues are waiting to be uncovered. Mary Schweitzer, who made a splash with her soft tissue discovery in a T. rex a decade ago, calls it: “an exciting paper, particularly in showing what happens when you really look at ancient bone and are not bound by the expectation that ‘nothing could possibly persist’. If you don’t look, you won’t find. But if you do, you never know.” (BBC)
Do you catch the importance of this? It’s comparable to evolutionists stumbling upon the real Noah’s Ark. They cannot sustain the millions-of-years ages in light of this evidence. What will they do now?
This will provide a highly visible test of evolutionists’ commitment to empiricism. If they continue to deny that this is evidence dinosaur bones are young, they deserve to get hammered. We’re seeing the leading edge of the toppling of evolutionists’ millions-of-years scheme, and with it, their whole theory of the history of the earth. That’s too big a price for them to pay. If history is a guide, they will continue to be in a state of denial and carry on as if nothing happened. It’s up to the rest of us to get the word out.
Creationists are also doing original research on this. Mark Armitage, who lost his job at California State University after publishing a paper on soft tissue in Triceratops horn that he found himself (11/05/14), is seeking funds to continue research. He posted a YouTube video responding to the Jurassic World claim. The osteocytes and cells he found in dinosaur bone never touch blood, he explains; therefore Schweitzer’s controversial explanation doesn’t work for bone cells (see ICR). If the bone cells are young, then the rest of the soft tissue cannot be millions of years old.