More Soft Tissue Found in Cretaceous Fossil Bird
Unrepentant over extreme falsification, evolutionary paleontologists are just taking it for granted that soft tissue can survive millions of years.
Scientists have reported soft tissues from the lower hindlimb of a Cretaceous bird. Writing in Nature Communications, Jiang et al. say,
Here, we report cellular-level preservation of tendon- and cartilage-like tissues from the lower hindlimb of Early Cretaceous Confuciusornis. The digital flexor tendons passed through cartilages, cartilaginous cristae and ridges on the plantar side of the distal tibiotarsus and proximal tarsometatarsus, as in extant birds. In particular, fibrocartilaginous and cartilaginous structures on the plantar surface of the ankle joint of Confuciusornis may indicate a more crouched hindlimb posture. Recognition of these specialized soft tissues in Confuciusornis is enabled by our combination of imaging and chemical analyses applied to an exceptionally preserved fossil.
The Early Cretaceous period dates from 146 to 100 million Darwin Years. Their focus is not on the remarkable fact that “strikingly preserved soft tissues” remain on a creature they believe dates from over a hundred million Darwin Years ago, but on what it can tell them about bird evolution. Unfortunately, the fossil doesn’t help them in that regard. The bird crouched pretty much the same way as modern birds.
The hindlimb of theropod dinosaurs changed appreciably in the lineage leading to extant birds, becoming more ‘crouched’ in association with changes to body shape and gait dynamics. This postural evolution included anatomical changes of the foot and ankle, altering the moment arms and control of the muscles that manipulated the tarsometatarsus and digits, but the timing of these changes is unknown.
But aren’t they ashamed to admit that soft tissue, long thought to decay rapidly, is still present on this fossil?
Here, we document a fossil of an Early Cretaceous bird, Confuciusornis sanctus, which has some strikingly well-preserved soft tissues around its ankle joint. Microscopic analyses of these tissues indicate that they include tendons or ligaments, fibrocartilages and articular cartilages, with microstructure evident at the cellular level. Further chemical analyses reveal that even some of the original molecular residues of these soft tissues may remain, such as fragments of amino acids from collagen, particularly in the fibrocartilage. This concurs with accruing evidence that some biomolecules may survive, under exceptional circumstances, over many millions of years.
That last word has 8 references after it, include three to the work of Mary Schweitzer, who shocked the world in 2005 with photographs of stretchy soft tissue on a T. rex bone. These authors say that “Three types of soft tissues are recognizable,” including fibrils of ligament, interwoven fibrils of cartilage, and articular cartilage. The open-access paper has photographs of the blackened tissue. One of the collaborators is Roy Wogelius of the University of Manchester, who reported in 2011 the presence of melanin in a fossil.
In their chemical analysis, the nine authors compared the soft tissue with modern samples of collagen and found a close match. “These FTIR spectra and mapping imply that amino acid residues may be present,” they say.
The popular press repeated the meme that soft tissue can last for millions of years. Phys.org says, “These findings tally with an expanding body of evidence that, under special conditions, some biological molecules – including even amino acids or partial proteins – can survive over millions of years in the fossil record.”
Another Soft Tissue Find
A separate paper in National Science Review reported an even earlier fossil bird, Eoconfuciusornis, from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Formation in China (131-120 million Darwin Years). Phys.org calls it “the most exceptionally preserved fossil bird discovered to date.”
Researchers have not found fossils from any other bird from the Jehol period that reveal so many types of soft tissue (feathers, skin, collagen, ovarian follicles).
Once again, though, the focus is not on the implications of finding soft tissue that should be long gone. Instead, they are only excited about bird evolution.
These remains allow researchers to create the most accurate reconstruction of a primitive early bird (or dinosaur) to date. This information provides better understanding of flight function in the primitive confuciusornithiforms and of the evolution of advanced flight features within birds.
“This new fossil is incredible,” said co-author Dr. Jingmai O’Connor. “With the amount of information we can glean from this specimen we can really bring this ancient species to life. We can understand how it grew, flew, reproduced, and what it looked like. Fossils like this one from the Jehol Biota continue to revolutionize our understanding of early birds.”
Revisiting that Amber Dinosaur Tail
There’s been some debate about the alleged feathered dinosaur tail found in amber (see 12/09/16). Markus Lambertz listed in Current Biology a number of concerns he had with the phylogenetic placement of this fossil by the discoverers “in light of their far-reaching evolutionary implications.” As is common in journal debates, Current Biology also published the authors’ defense of their identification.
What do you do with unrepentant sinners? Instead of bowing their heads in shame and quitting science, they are taking ownership of their sins. They are saying it proves that soft tissue can last for millions of years!
Don’t you remember the shock at those initial discoveries? Nobody predicted that soft tissue would remain even a million years, let alone 130 million. They are demonstrating that the Cult of Darwin cannot be falsified. It is not science (3/22/17).
What creationists will have to do is amass a long list of quotations by leading authorities who placed strict upper limits on the lifetimes of biological tissues and hold it in their faces. They also need to cite empirical studies on decay rates under the best of conditions. This is assuming that evolutionists are even interested in evidence, a dubious assumption.