September 1, 2015 | David F. Coppedge

Original Pigment Found in "Dinosaur Feathers"

If pigment in fossil feathers cannot last 150 million years, then the story about bird evolution from dinosaurs is wrong.

An international team of scientists has confirmed that the disputed dark spots in the feathers of Anchiornis huxleyii are original melanosomes, the organelles of pigment in bird wings. Science Daily says,

The idea that melanosomes, which produce melanin pigment, are preserved in fossils has been hotly debated among scientists during the last several years. Microscopic traces that to some scientists seem to resemble melanosomes, appear to skeptics to instead be similar-looking bacteria. The new study resolves the debate, said co-author Ryan Carney, a graduate student at Brown University, by adding a powerful second line of evidence: chemistry.

“We have integrated structural and molecular evidence that demonstrates that melanosomes do persist in the fossil record,” said Carney, who helped design and write the study. “This evidence of animal-specific melanin in fossil feathers is the final nail in the coffin that shows that these microbodies are indeed melanosomes and not microbes.

The melanins in the specimen, said to be 150 million years old, are “virtually identical” to modern-day melanin, the researchers said, except for “minor contributions from sulfur in the fossil.” There is no explanation in the article how these organelles could last so long. There is only mention that the preservation of these organelles is “hotly debated”.

Lion Around

Another case of original soft tissue was reported from Russia. PhysOrg reported bone, claw and hair from a cave lion said to be 61,000 years old, buried in permafrost. Interestingly, the hair dated to 28,700 years old by carbon-14. The paleontologists say the “inconsistency with the bone may be explained by contaminants in the fur” but that’s a pretty major discrepancy for samples from the same animal. It would seem to cast doubt on the reliability of C-14 dating for any specimen that old.

Add these to the growing list of evidences that cast doubt on long ages. One of the most spectacular findings recently is the dinosaur soft tissue report from June (see 6/09/15, 6/10/15) and radiocarbon in dinosaur bone (6/18/15). At least five years ago, Otis Kline, curator of a creation museum in Glendive, Montana (“ground zero” of dinosaur fossils of the Hell Creek Formation) reported finding C-14 in three different species of dinosaurs by the most accurate method, atomic mass spectroscopy (AMS); see reports and hear radio interviews on Bob Enyart Live from 2010 and 2012.

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  • John C says:

    Isn’t it interesting that no-one accuses contaminants of making a fossil appearing OLDER than it is? But let C-14 be found in dino bone and it’s “Contamination!” all the way to the bank.

  • Donald Holliday says:

    As to the quotes “minor contributions from sulfur in the fossil.” and “hotly debated”, this just keeps rearing its ugly head for lovers of comet and asteroid myths and fables.

    Possible “springs of the watery deep broken open” ?????????? Who knows, but it just keeps getting more and more interesting as time pants on to the end.

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