December 6, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

Two More Soft-Tissue Fossils Pile on the Evidence Against Deep Time

Evolutionists are dodging hard evidence with an absurd excuse that soft tissue can last hundreds of millions of years.

Soft tissue in fossils violates everything paleontologists thought they knew about deep time. Proteins, DNA and tissue were supposed to decay and be replaced by rock in mere thousands of years, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of years at the very most. Now, the evidence for surviving original material is beyond question. Two more instances have been reported this week. So are evolutionists giving up on deep time? The thought doesn’t even enter their minds. Instead, they claim that the evidence proves that soft tissue can indeed last millions of years, and that it can help Darwin by providing more evidence for evolution. Both claims are false. Soft tissue destroys deep time. These fossils were recently buried.

Ichthyosaur Skin and Blubber

On December 5, Nature published “Soft-tissue evidence for homeothermy and crypsis in a Jurassic ichthyosaur.” Mary Schweitzer, whose earlier soft-tissue papers have rocked the establishment since 2005, is co-author with 22 other scientists, so this is no one-off claim coming from who-knows-where. The fossil ichthyosaur, found in Germany, shows remarkable preservation of its skin and blubber. A press release from Schweitzer’s institution, North Carolina State University, tells about it:

Schweitzer and NC State research assistant Wenxia Zheng extracted soft tissues from the samples and performed multiple, high-resolution immunohistochemical analyses. “We developed a panel of antibodies that we applied to all of the samples, and saw differential binding, meaning the antibodies for a particular protein – like keratin or hemoglobin – only bound to particular areas,” Schweitzer says. “This demonstrates the specificity of these antibodies and is strong evidence that different proteins persist in different tissues. You wouldn’t expect to find keratin in the liver, for example, but you would expect hemoglobin. And that’s what we saw in the responses of these samples to different antibodies and other chemical tools.”

The article dodges the age issue, and focuses on findings about the animal’s biology. It’s certainly interesting to find evidence suggesting that ichthyosaurs were warm blooded, and may have had camouflage. But that’s not nearly as important as the bombshell about age. How can original protein material still exist in this fossil said to be 180 million years old? That is much older than the other samples she produced in a T. rex (65 mya) and a hadrosaur (80 mya). The paper’s Supplemental Information shows a piece of soft tissue from this ichthyosaur that is still stretchy and flexible (video 2), even though it is much older than Schweitzer’s famous B rex sample and Mark Armitage’s Triceratops sample. How can that be? Are those millions of years even real?

Schweitzer has never doubted deep time in the fossils she has famously examined for soft tissue. She has even proposed controversial mechanisms by which it might survive (26 Nov 2013). A bizarre behavior is being exhibited by secular scientists. All the evolutionists are treating deep time as a fact, trusting uncritically in illogical suggestions and dubious proposals (see 10 Nov 2018) that somehow these proteins can escape the relentless decay processes for all those Darwin Years (years that Darwin requires for evolution). So great would be the impact if these fossils are only a few thousand years old, the entire Darwin Empire would likely come crashing down. With stakes so high, evolutionists feel obligated to believe impossible things.

Convergence Again

In New Scientist, Michael LePage believes another impossible thing for evolution: that ichthyosaurs bore “a striking resemblance to dolphins.” The artist renditions don’t leave any doubt. How could a reptile look just like a marine mammal that would “evolve” more than a hundred million years later? Here is what the article says about the soft tissue:

A 180-million-year-old fossil, found in Germany, is so extraordinarily well preserved that pieces of the skin removed for analysis were still flexible. It shows that at least some ichthyosaurs had smooth, scaleless skin underlain by blubber, making them even more like dolphins than we thought.

Stenopterygius, NC State: drawing by Mark Hallett

LePage discusses possible implications for camouflage in the skin, but says this about the soft tissue:

When the team looked at the skin of the fossil ichthyosaur under a microscope, they saw what appear to be the remnants of individual pigment cells. They are virtually identical to the pigment cells of modern reptiles, which have a distinctive branched structure. The variations in the distribution of these cells suggest the animal had countershading.

“There is more to the fossil record than we could ever imagine,” says Lindgren.

Rapid Burial

How could such a large animal fossilize at all? One factor is rapid burial. And as if to prepare for future soft-tissue surprises, Johan Lindgren of Lund University is quoted:

The team’s discoveries relied in part on an array of new technologies for studying fossils. But the German fossil is also unusual in that it appears to have fossilised very quickly, preserving soft tissues before they rotted away. It won’t be the only one of its kind, Lindgren says. “I expect there are other specimens out there, for sure.”

What kind of process could bury a large marine reptile “very quickly”? A huge flood could do it. Normally, marine animals decay long before the skeleton is preserved, let alone its skin. Here’s what else evolutionists have to believe about this fossil. From the paper in Nature, the scientists admit this beast has a lot of modern characteristics it shares traits with whales and sea turtles! Look how they maintain their belief in deep time and evolution:

Our experimental results demonstrate that the integument of Stenopterygius had both a smooth external surface and thick subcutaneous layer of fibro-adipose tissue. This is notably similar to modern whales and adult individuals of the leatherback sea turtle, and reveals multiple aspects of soft-tissue convergence that range across a time span of more than 180 million years. In addition, the mosaic of cetacean and reptilian traits that is characteristic of Stenopterygius anatomy recurs in its integumental histology, with the presence of branched melanophores (rather than mammalian melanocytes) and absence of dermal ossifications (otherwise found in the leatherback sea turtle). We attribute these adaptive specializations to the morphological and physiological constraints imposed upon all pelagic tetrapods during their evolutionary transition towards life in the sea.

Maintaining Darwin Rule

Neo-Darwinism cannot survive such miracles. These scientists are asking readers to believe that the sea causes animals to evolve alike. If that were true, all sea creatures would look like dolphins, but most do not: sea lions, sea snakes, penguins and numerous other organisms in the same environment do not “converge” on the dolphin body plan, even if it were granted that they began on the land. The evolutionists make the same claim in the Abstract, too, but notice the frank admissions of soft tissue varieties they found:

Ichthyosaurs are extinct marine reptiles that display a notable external similarity to modern toothed whales. Here we show that this resemblance is more than skin deep. We apply a multidisciplinary experimental approach to characterize the cellular and molecular composition of integumental tissues in an exceptionally preserved specimen of the Early Jurassic ichthyosaur Stenopterygius. Our analyses recovered still-flexible remnants of the original scaleless skin, which comprises morphologically distinct epidermal and dermal layers. These are underlain by insulating blubber that would have augmented streamlining, buoyancy and homeothermy. Additionally, we identify endogenous proteinaceous and lipid constituents, together with keratinocytes and branched melanophores that contain eumelanin pigment. Distributional variation of melanophores across the body suggests countershading, possibly enhanced by physiological adjustments of colour to enable photoprotection, concealment and/or thermoregulation. Convergence of ichthyosaurs with extant marine amniotes thus extends to the ultrastructural and molecular levels, reflecting the omnipresent constraints of their shared adaptation to pelagic life.

Stretchy skin. Proteins with identifiable amino acids. Lipids. That is the incredible claim, that these delicate biomolecules could survive for 180 million years, even under perfect conditions. But they cannot. All tests with reasonable extrapolations put upper limits on age that are orders of magnitude shorter (see Brian Thomas’s referenced article at Answers in Genesis from 2015, with video clip and chart of maximum ages and actual finds placed alongside the standard geologic column). This fossil cannot be as old as claimed, but to avoid losing control of the Church of Charlie, the Darwin-Party scientists say, “With their dolphin-like external form, the Mesozoic ichthyosaurs are icons of evolution.

Medullary Bone in Cretaceous Birds

The second soft-tissue find this week concerns a special kind of bone found in egg-laying animals. It’s a highly porous bone found normally in birds and some dinosaurs, called medullary bone. It forms as a reserve of calcium when the female lays eggs. reports from China’s Jehol strata that medullary bone has been found for the first time in enantiornithine birds, an extinct kind of Cretaceous bird.

In light of the currently available evidence, medullary bone might have been an entirely avian feature even in the Mesozoic. It evolved as a result of the thinned, hollow bones in birds, which lightened the skeleton for flight, as well as their increased egg size.

When medullary bone was reported in a T. rex dinosaur in 2005 by Mary Schweitzer (3 June 2005), scientists were shocked because it is a very fragile type of tissue that should not be preserved, and it only exists briefly during egg-laying. In that story, an NC State evolutionary spin doctor was well versed in how to spin this surprise for the public in order to preserve Darwin’s tyrannical reign: “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.”

Darwin’s Ministry of Truth at work. Shameful.

An interesting side topic regarding the ichthyosaur concerns taxonomy: what do we mean by “reptile” when this animal looks like a toothed whale or dolphin, is warm blooded, and has no scales? Evolutionists must maintain that mammals evolved after reptiles, but creationists believe they were created at the same time. Engineers know how to re-use modules in different inventions. The Creator could certainly do that for different groups of creatures needing to live in the same environment. Winston Ewert’s new “dependency graph” model for taxonomy (see article by Andrew Jones on Evolution News), which takes inspiration from software engineering, is claimed to be vastly superior at explaining nested hierarchies and convergences than Darwin’s tree-of-life metaphor.

We don’t need Darwin. We don’t need millions of years. We need an all-wise Creator, a sinful world, and a Flood that led to rapid burial of a host of organisms just a few thousand years ago. That’s why we are finding soft tissue remains now. What should be surprising is that it could last for even thousands of years.

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  • Fitimtari says:

    “What should be surprising is that it could last for even thousands of years.” Yes indeed. If anything, before this class of finds came to light, creationists were at pains to stress how rapid fossilization can be, so as to account for all the fossils (then universally assumed to be completely fossilized) within the Biblical time-frame. And actually, those older arguments still hold good under appropriate conditions – just that, amazingly, even within this shorter time scale, “it ain’t necessarily so”!

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