October 10, 2017 | Jerry Bergman

Is This Salamander Really 40 Million Years Old?

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

The development of new techniques has allowed researchers to see inside of fossils to evaluate not only organs but also tissues. An example is a report on a new study of “an exceptionally preserved salamander from the Eocene of France”[i] that revealed many of its organs and structures. In addition to the skin and skeleton the researchers found muscles, lung, spinal cord, digestive tract and even nerves.[ii] The most incredible find the French researchers made was the preservation of frog bones within the salamander’s stomach, evidently its last meal. This find is of note because as far as we knew salamanders rarely eat frogs or other salamanders. This is just one of many studies that are creating big problems for evolutionists. A putative 35 to 40-million-year old salamander whose organs look just like a present-day salamander? No evolution in 40 million years? Many organs preserved? The fossil is claimed to be permineralized, where minerals have replaced the organs, leaving good detail of the structural detail that was originally in the organism. It belongs to the same family as the living fire salamander Salamandra salamandra.

It is true that in 99 percent of the cases, fossils are represented only by hard parts, such as bones and shells, but that rare 1 percent can tell us a great deal about ancient life, such as it appears that there is no way these fossils could be 40 million years old.

The trunk, hip and part of hind legs and tail are also preserved. Although discovered in the 1870s, until very recently the only traits paleontologists could determine about this specimen was the visible anatomical details, such as the cloaca. The cloaca is an external orifice used for reproduction and the urinary canal.

The specimen was scanned at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, which produced an incredible level of details achieved by electronically slicing the specimen into a series of thin sections somewhat like CAT scans achieve with x-rays. The technique is called phase-contrast synchrotron X-ray microtomography.[iii] The quality of preservation is such that the details of at least six kinds of organs are preserved in almost perfect condition. As a result, the researchers were able to describe the structures in great detail, indicating little difference exists between this specimen and modern examples. In this case they were not soft tissues, but the organs were permineralized that allow the researchers to describe the structures in great detail, indicating little difference exists between this specimen and modern examples.

Soft Tissues Is Another Area of Importance

The most exciting development is a technique, namely to dissolve fossil bones in acid to reveal soft tissue, that has revolutionized our understanding of ancient life. Many writers on the topic of ancient soft tissue finds assume, or imply, that Mary Schweitzer’s 2005 article was the first published paper on this topic. This may be because her paper received significantly more attention than all of the previous papers. It was, though, by no means the first paper to determine that soft pliable tissue, including arteries and other blood vessels, exists in dinosaur fossil bones.[iv] Actually, reports date back to 1907 on empirical research of possible blood vessels in dinosaur fossil bones. One review was published in 1920 in The American Naturalist titled “Concerning the Fossilization of Blood Corpuscles” in dinosaur bones. The paper concluded that very good evidence exists for such preserved tissue in dinosaur bones.[v]

In his paper “Original Biomaterial in Fossils,” Brian Thomas noted the existence of many pre-2005 publications on soft-tissue, and cited a few examples.[vi] One must wonder why this topic has been almost totally ignored for so long. Today, evolutionists are still trying to explain them away, as documented in the Creation Research Society’s i-Dino project.[vii]  It could be for the reason that Darwinists realize these discoveries produce major problems both for their theory of life’s origin and gradual evolution.


The new techniques, such as phase-contrast synchrotron X-ray microtomography, plus the realization that fossils alleged to be many millions of years old contain soft tissue, will likely result in an enormous number of soft tissue studies on putative ancient fossils. The results will likely cause a revolution in our perceptions about evolution by documenting that these fossils are not as old as once believed, and that little change has occurred from these ancient specimens and to animals living today. Time will tell. Stay tuned.

[i] Ancient petrified salamander reveals its last meal https://phys.org/news/2017-10-ancient-petrified-salamander-reveals-meal.html October 3, 2017.

[ii] Jérémy Tissier et al, 2017 Exceptional soft tissues preservation in a mummified frog-eating Eocene salamander, Peer Journal 5:e3861 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3861

[iii] Tissier, 2017.

[iv] One of the newest is Yao-Chang Lee, Cheng-Cheng Chiang, Pei-Yu Huang, Chao-Yu Chung, Timothy D. Huang, Chun-Chieh Wang, Ching-Iue Chen, Rong-Seng Chang, Cheng-Hao Liao, Robert R. Reisz. Evidence of preserved collagen in an Early Jurassic sauropodomorph dinosaur revealed by synchrotron FTIR microspectroscopy. Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 14220 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14220. And Dinosaur rib bones reveal remnants of 195-million-year-old protein. February 1, 2017.

See also1/29/17 http://crev.info/2017/01/no-doubts-left-its-dinosaur-protein/
Source article: https://news.ncsu.edu/2017/01/schroeter-collagen/
Source paper: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00873
and 1/31/17 http://crev.info/2017/01/oldest-dinosaur-blood-reported/
Source article: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-dino-rib-yields-evidence-oldest.html
Source paper: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14220

[v] Sept-October 1920 pp 460-464

[vi] See p. 238-239 of The iDINO Project Special Report. Creation Research Society Quarterly. Spring 2015 issue. 51(4)

[vii] See “Dinosaur Tissue or Bacterial Biofilms?” By Kevin Anderson, PhD in the iDINO project report cited above.

Dr Jerry Bergman, professor, author and speaker, is a frequent contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. See his Author Profile for his previous articles.


Recommended Resource: Dr. Bergman’s book Fossil Forensics analyzes every animal and plant category, showing that the fossil record does not support Darwinian evolution.

Leave a Reply