Last year at about this time, it was disclosed that scientists had made an amazing discovery of a Tyrannosaurus rex thigh bone that still retained well-preserved soft tissue (which included blood vessels and cells). For evolutionists who argue that dinosaurs died about 65 million years ago, it was a startling discovery. AiG–USA’s Dr. David Menton (who holds a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University) wrote at the time that it “certainly taxes one’s imagination to believe that soft tissue and cells could remain so relatively fresh in appearance for the tens of millions of years of supposed evolutionary history.”1
At the annual meeting of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, late last month (and which was attended by Dr. Menton), the North Carolina State University paleontologist who had announced the find last year, Dr. Mary Schweitzer, elaborated on the discovery that continues to shock the paleontological community. Evolutionists like her have been scrambling for 12 months to explain away this powerful evidence that dinosaurs have been around in relatively recent times. At the AAAS meeting, Dr. Schweitzer, as recorded by National Geographic, explained how she has been trying “to make sense of the surprising discovery, [and that] scientists are beginning to rethink a long-standing model of how the fossilization process works. … Traditional ideas of how fossils form do not allow for the preservation of soft, perishable organic tissues.”2
Schweitzer also said at the AAAS conference that “we propose now that soft-tissue components of bone might persist in a lot more different animals, in a lot more ages and environments, than we once thought.”3 So steadfast is she in her long-age belief, Dr. Schweitzer will not even consider a re-think of her view that dinosaurs perished 65 million years ago. So she continues a search for an explanation of how soft tissue could have survived so well preserved for a long time.
A year ago this month, the journal Science reported that a team led by Dr. Schweitzer found flexible connective tissue and branching blood vessels, as well as intact cells (that have the appearance of red blood cells) and osteocytes (bone cells) in the femur (thigh bone) of a “68-million-year-old” T. rex uncovered in Montana.
As summarized by Dr. Menton last year4:
The T. rex was deposited in sandstone of “estuarine” origin, meaning that the animal was buried in rock layers laid down by water (no surprise here for the creationists—see “Genesis and catastrophe”).
Since the bone looked relatively unfossilized, researchers, using weak acid, dissolved the mineral from a piece of the dinosaur bone (much the same way as the common science class exercise where chicken leg bones are soaked in vinegar for a week to make them rubbery).
In fresh bones, the acid removes the hard mineral, leaving only organic material such as fibrous connective tissue, blood vessels and various cells. By comparison, if one were to demineralize a typical well-permineralized fossil, there would be nothing left. The acid-treated T. rex bone fragment, however, produced a flexible and elastic structure similar to what you would get from a fresh bone.
When the demineralized T. rex bone was examined under the microscope, it revealed small branching translucent blood vessels with what appeared to be red blood cells inside. …
The report would have been an interesting scientific contribution if the writers would have ended on the note that old dinosaur bones look surprisingly young. But this would hardly serve as evidence for their millions of years of evolution.
To see the startling photos of the dinosaur tissue and to read more about this find, go to Still soft and stretchy.
Schweitzer, reports National Geographic, said that she will be continuing to study possible ways to explain this phenomenon, which was previously thought to be impossible. To illustrate the challenge being faced (although she claims to be on one possible track5), she showed two photographs and stated: “One of these cells is 65 million years old, and one is about 9 months old. Can anyone tell me which is which?”
Her inferred answer was no.
Will evolutionists now be convinced to think about rewriting dinosaur history?
As AiG wrote in a news release 12 months ago about this find (in a release which was distributed nationwide to the secular media):
The tissue/blood vessels are not millions of years old at all, but were mostly fossilized under catastrophic conditions a few thousand years ago at most. (I.e., by the global Flood of Noah’s time, about 4,300 years ago.)
The deeply entrenched idea of long ages is so dominant in most of the scientific establishments that facts will not undermine the evolution belief system. … Philosophers of science like Thomas Kuhn have pointed out what generally happens when a discovery contradicts a paradigm: the paradigm is not discarded but modified.
Years ago when a startled Dr. Schweitzer found what appeared to be blood cells in a T. rex bone, she said, “it was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. … The bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?” Her first reaction was to question the evidence, not the paradigm.
Almost certainly this astonishing discovery will become an “accepted” phenomenon that even “stretchy” soft tissues must be somehow capable of surviving for millions of years … and “stretching” beyond belief the idea that the evolutionary timetable concerning dinosaurs can be true.
Regardless of how the evolutionist community finally decides what to do with this fossil conundrum, the creationists now possess immensely powerful evidence against the well-publicized belief that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and instead have tremendous support for the biblical timeline of a recent creation.
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New findings not yet published have led her to suggest one possible explanation. The key, she believes, may be the iron content of the blood and muscle proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin.
After an organism dies, iron released from these proteins as they degrade may trigger the formation of highly reactive forms of oxygen known as free radicals. Other heavy metals in the environment may produce the same effect.
Schweitzer thinks these metal-generated free radicals may trigger the formation of longer molecular chains, known as polymers, which essentially bind and lock remaining cellular structures in place.
“Eventually, the polymerized remains become inert, free from attack from the outside and further chemical change,” Schweitzer said.
The researchers are now trying to obtain a pure sample of the blood cell-like structures. If successful, Schweitzer hopes to apply a technique known as Raman spectroscopy to search for the presence of hemoglobin.
In addition to testing her preservation theory, this analysis will help determine if identifiable protein fragments from the ancient animal are still present in the tissues. It’s possible, Schweitzer says, that some unknown form of geochemical replacement preserved the tissue structure but changed its molecular composition.
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