June 3, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Soft T-Rex Tissue Claimed Bird-Like; Age Ignored

More details about the soft tissue found in a T. rex thigh bone (see 03/24/2005 story) were published in Science this week.1  Mary Schweitzer’s team claims to have found evidence of medullary bone [MB], a type of mineralized and vascularized bony tissue found only in certain birds during ovulation as a buffer against calcium loss.  The abstract and summary posted in a press release from North Carolina State says it’s a girl, and she’s pregnant:

Unambiguous indicators of gender in dinosaurs are usually lost during fossilization along with other aspects of soft tissue anatomy.  We report the presence of endosteally derived bone tissues lining the interior marrow cavities of portions of Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125) hindlimb elements, and hypothesize that these tissues are homologous to specialized avian tissues known as medullary bone.  Because medullary bone is unique to female birds, its discovery in extinct dinosaurs solidifies the link between dinosaurs and birds, suggests similar reproductive strategies, and provides an objective means of gender differentiation in dinosaurs.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)

Understated in the report is how these soft tissues could have survived for so long.  The paper in Science says only:

The existence of avian-type MB in dinosaurs has been hypothesized but not identified.  In part, this could be because of taphonomic bias [i.e., fossil-hunters not expecting to find it], because the death and fossilization of an ovulating dinosaur would be comparatively rare.  Additionally, MB in extant birds is fragile, the spicules separating easily from the originating layer (fig. S1).  Dinosaur MB may separate and be lost from overlying CB in a similar manner during diagenesis [i.e., the hardening of sediment into rock].

National Geographic admitted briefly that “all obvious gender indicators vanish when soft tissues decay during fossilization” but emphasized the gender-identification and phylogenetic angles of the story.  The BBC News article showed a picture of the bones, but said nothing about their assumed ages.  The NC press release did not explain the 70-million year figure, but merely asserted it.  Betsy M. Bennett, Directory of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, stated emphatically, “We’re pleased to be able to provide a way for the public to see for themselves evidence that after millions of years, soft tissue can actually be preserved in dinosaur bone.”
    Another paper published in Science Express announced the sequencing of the genome from a cave bear, thought to have been extinct for 40,000 years.  In the BBC News write-up, a scientist predicted, “I don’t think we can extract DNA from dinosaurs, I think they are too old.”  It will be interesting to see if Mary Schweitzer’s team finds any in the T. rex bone, where blood vessels, and possibly blood cells, were seen.


1Schweitzer et al., “Gender-Specific Reproductive Tissue in Ratites and Tyrannosaurus rex, Science, Vol 308, Issue 5727, 1456-1460, 3 June 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1112158].

This is incredible.  How can these scientists ignore the obvious?  There’s no way this bone could be so old, but all they can think about are connecting homology dots between dinosaurs and birds by circumstantial evidence.  Did they see the dinosaur laying eggs?  No.  Did they prove this is medullary bone?  Perhaps.  Does it prove an ancestral relationship if the dinosaur did have medullary bone?  No.  Does that matter?  Not much.  What really matters about this story is the age of the specimen.  If this specimen is only a few thousand years old, none of this dino-bird homology matters: this blows apart the entire tale of dinosaur evolution.  Belief in millions of years and the rest of the evolutionary timeline takes a staggering blow.
    Look at them strain at a gnat about medullary bone, but swallow a camel about the age.  Instead of expressing shock and anguish, instead of repenting in dust and ashes for spreading lies about dinosaur ages for the past century and a half, they grin and say, “We’ll ah’ll be.  Ain’t it amazin’ how these soft tissues survived for sempty millon yeers.”  It makes one think their brainwashing is so complete they would say the same thing if face to face with a living dinosaur.  Absurd?  Not at all: they already do it with living fossils much “older” in their time scheme.
    Folks, consider the facts in this story.  Soft tissues from a bone of T. rex, everyone’s favorite monster, were found in Montana.  The specimen preserves fine microscopic detail and even pigment.  The material is still flexible and not fossilized.  We know that medullary bone in living birds is “fragile, the spicules separating easily from the originating layer.”  The initial reaction by the scientists was disbelief, because no known process could preserve soft tissues like this for so long.  (And what a thought to consider that this monster might have been alive just a few thousand years ago!)

Though this is a spectacular example, we should not think that it is an isolated case.  Many insects from around the world have been found preserved in amber (fossil tree resin), with even hairs and veins in the wings preserved in exquisite detail.  Some still contain bacteria in the guts and DNA fragments have been extracted.  Often the specimens are indistinguishable from living species, yet claimed to be millions of years old.  Yet we know that tree resin weathers rapidly and is usually not produced in quantities that can extend for meters and entomb frogs and large insects, which would normally float and decay before being preserved.  On what grounds can evolutionists claim such fossils are ancient?  (For more information on fossil amber, get the presentation “Amber – New Insights” by Dr. Harald Binder, available at Access Research Network.)

The only way anyone can claim these dinosaur bones are tens of millions of years old is by prior commitment to a belief system that demands forcing all evidence into a long, drawn-out process of evolution.  The young-earth creationists have a great opportunity here.  They and anyone still unbrainwashed about geologic time, and all who respect hard evidence, should hammer away relentlessly at the credulity of the Darwinists, demanding that they explain how a specimen like this could survive even one hundredth of that much time.*  If you see this bone on exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History, be nice, but come prepared with good questions and reputable background information.  Don’t take bluffing and evasion for an answer.  Undoubtedly, after enough exasperation, they will probably provide the docents a manual on how to deal with those pesky visitors who won’t buy the script, but keep demanding, “Just the facts, ma’am.”**

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Categories: Birds, Dinosaurs, Fossils

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