July 26, 2011 | David F. Coppedge

Dinosaur Protein Is Primordial

Scientists from 10 universities and institutions have verified that the collagen protein in dinosaur bone is primordial – i.e., from the dinosaur, not from later contamination.  By first studying the molecular packing of collagen in living animals, and using X-ray diffraction modeling, they matched the surviving collagen molecules to those that would most likely survive degradation.  They feel this establishes the authenticity of the protein fragments against claims of contamination and simultaneously offers a mechanism for its resistance to degradation. 

The claim of original dinosaur protein was met with skepticism, an article on PhysOrg began: “Although the team had previously presented multiple lines of evidence supporting the veracity of the find, the fact that the age of the peptides far exceeds any previous predictions of how long a protein could resist degradation has generated controversy.” The team set out to test for contamination but also to try to understand how any protein could last for 65 million years or more. 

Like every protein, collagen is made up of amino acid sequences (polypeptides).  For collagen, these arrange into a triple-helix structure like a rope, that is further wrapped in higher-level fibrils that give it its high tensile strength.  About 20% of the human body is collagen; it “literally holds the body together,” the article said.  The innermost amino acids in the bundle are the most protected from attack by degrading agents.  Among those, the hydrophobic would be the least likely to degrade in water or other solutions.  In addition, these sequences appeared to be located in stable regions away from the damaging effects of breakdown enzymes.  These are the peptide sequences the team found in the dinosaur samples.

“Sequencing and mapping of 11 dinosaur peptides that represented 8 sequences revealed that the dinosaur sequences were from regions of the protein that were partly protected by molecular packing,” the article said, adding, “This localization could be responsible for protecting the peptides over the millenia [sic].”  Of course the problem evolutionists face is not mere millennia but tens of millions of years.  As for how any protein, protected or not, could survive such extensive epochs of time, the team said: “These features provide hard biochemical evidence for why these particular peptides endured for such a long time.”  Actually, though, they only established that the particular peptides were the most likely to be protected.  They did not provide hard evidence that would be protected for tens of millions of years; they only assumed the millions of years, and reasoned that the proteins must have survived that long.

The team knows the controversy will continue: “Does this work satisfy the skeptics? Not yet, but having a new mechanism for how ancient proteins might be preserved is a dinosaur-sized step in the right direction.”  The work was published last month in PLoS One,1 but was reported by PhysOrg July 26.

1. San Antonio, Schweitzer et al., Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival,” Public Library of Science One 6(6): e20381 (June 8, 2011). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020381.

The “skeptics” fall into two camps: those who don’t believe the collagen is primordial, and those who don’t believe it is millions of years old.  Every piece of evidence is helpful to nail the case that this is original dinosaur protein, but that is not the crux of the controversy.  The age is.  Evolutionists need to prove that collagen and other soft tissues are able to survive for 65 million years or more, or else they have to cede the science to young-earth creationists who are telling them dinosaurs lived in more recent times and that millions of years is a myth.  The researchers in this article only offered the meagerest suggestions that “might” explain the survivability of the protein.  Worse, they only looked at the collagen, ignoring the blood vessels, blood cells, tendons and medullary bone reported by Schweitzer and others (search on Schweitzer on this site for reports).

One cannot carry out a time experiment, naturally, but It shouldn’t be that hard for old-earth evolutionists to make their case.  If their dating is right, look for collagen in various fossils said to be 5 million, 10 million, 30 million years old and compare their amounts of degradation with those of the dinosaurs.  Correcting for other factors such as burial conditions, do they fall on a line?  If, after a certain period on their fossil timeline, all collagen is equally preserved, it would indicate the degradation clock started at the same time for all the fossils – supporting the creationist view (unless evolutionists can argue that collagen degrades to a certain point then stops degrading).  Additionally, taphonomic experiments reproducing burial conditions can be conducted on recently-dead animals for periods of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years, to measure degradation rates under ideal conditions.  Rather than starting experiments anew and having to wait a decade for answers, they could piggyback on the research of others who have such fossilization experiments in progress. 

Disgustingly, the research team is not shocked and humbled by the soft-tissue evidence, but is using it to support evolution!  If collagen can survive for 65 million years or more, they speculate, think of the possibilities of comparing ancient collagen with that of living animals to see how it has evolved over millions of years: “Paleoproteomics therefore not only holds significant promise for elucidating evolutionary relationships between extinct and extant organisms, but is potentially useful for enhancing our understanding of protein function in living animals,” the paper said.  Good grief.  Evolutionists are incorrigible spin doctors, incapable of being refuted or embarrassed.  Over and over in the paper you can see them assuming “geologic time” instead of testing it.

The discovery of dinosaur soft tissue in its original form is such a dynamite discovery, with such important implications, it would be worth it to rule out all other interpretations, and to establish the limits of soft tissue survivability.  So far the creationist view is looking pretty good.

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  • Shawn says:

    This seems irrefutable to me. I mean how can you possibly hope to contend that soft dinosaur tissue could survive (supposedly) millions and millions of years? It doesn’t make sense to me at all, but instead of looking at it from a fresh perspective, evolutionists just try to cram it in a corner and pretend it isn’t that big of a deal.

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