More Unfossilized Evidence of “Dinosaurs” Living in the Recent Past
For a few years now, we have been documenting the on-going progress of one of the most powerful scientific evidences of a young Earth.1 Since evolutionist Mary Schweitzer began bringing to light soft tissue in dinosaur fossils in the early 2000s, the list of dinosaur species in which soft, stretchy tissue, collagen, blood vessels, cells, or proteins have been found has grown significantly, reaching ever deeper into the geologic column. Obviously, her research has been controversial and dismissed by many from the beginning, since all dinosaur fossils allegedly are at least 65-66 million years old—according to the evolutionary paradigm. While soft tissue could theoretically be preserved for thousands of years, if in a cool, dry, and sterile environment (which is not the environment dinosaur fossils are found in), tens of thousands…hundreds of thousands…millions…tens of millions…hundreds of millions of years? Preposterous.2 In the words of vertebrate paleontologist Philip Senter of Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, “The recent discovery of preserved cells and soft tissues in certain dinosaur bones seems incompatible with an age of millions of years, given the expectation that cells and soft tissues should have decayed away after millions of years. However, evidence from radiometric dating shows that dinosaur fossils are indeed millions of years old.”3 Rather than consider the possibility that radiometric dating methods are unreliable at best,4 Senter disregards the clear implication of the latest scientific evidences in order to hold on to a blind “faith” in an old Earth and evolution, which requires millions of years to do its “work.” Finding biomaterials in rock layers thought by geologists to be 66-252 million years old effectively falsifies evolution and the radiometric dating methods that yield absolute5 ages that high.
Schweitzer did more research in response to critics, to make sure contamination was not a factor and that her conclusions were accurate, but found the same results. Even more, other scientists added their voices to hers, separately finding biomaterials in their dinosaur fossils. Biomaterials in Tyrannosaurus rex,6 hadrosaur,7 triceratops,8 seismosaur,9 Thescelosaurus,10 and Psittacosaurus11 fossils from the Mesozoic (i.e., 66-252 million radiometric years old) rock layers have been found over the years, with more regularly being discovered. In the words of Rowan University vertebrate paleontologist Paul Ullmann and his colleagues, writing in Cretaceous Research, “Recovery of soft tissues and cells from fossil bones is becoming increasingly common, with structures morphologically consistent with vertebrate osteocytes, blood vessels, ﬁbrous/collagenous matrix, and potential intravascular contents now recognized from specimens dating back to the Permian [i.e., 252-299 million radiometric years ago—JM].”12
Add to the thus-far-formidable list of dinosaur fossils with intact biomaterials the Mesozoic marine reptiles that have been discovered with biomaterials still intact—from mosasaurs13 to ichthyosaurs14 to plesiosaurs15—and it becomes increasingly clear that the discovery of biomaterials in these fossils are not anomalies nor examples of contamination. Studying dinosaur fossils with soft tissues still intact, University College of London bioengineer and professor Sergio Bertazzo and his colleagues, writing in Nature, highlighted that the fossils in which they found soft tissue showed no evidence of having been specially preserved by nature in any way. In other words, they were comparable to typical dinosaur fossils. They correctly reason in response that the soft tissue evidence “strongly suggests that the preservation of soft tissues and even proteins is a more common phenomenon than previously accepted.”16
As if more proof were needed to establish the inadequacy of the old-Earth, evolutionary explanation of the evidence, scientists have also found soft tissue in Mesozoic pterosaurs (ancient flying reptiles), including a Tupandactylus navigans reported in PLoS ONE in August of last year.17 Thought to have lived 100 million years ago, based on the evolutionary timescale, Nature explained that “the specimen boasts soft-tissue remains of nearly all of the reptile’s imposing head crest, which is five times taller than its skull.”18 While land-dwelling and water-dwelling creatures are more likely to be caught and preserved by fossil-forming phenomena (e.g., mudslides and lava flows), flying creatures can more easily “get above” them. The discovery of several fossilized pterosaurs,19 then, is evidence of special catastrophic activity in the past, and the fact that many are found with soft tissue still intact is evidence of that special catastrophic activity in the recent past.20
Are not such evidences strongly and obviously in favor of a young Earth? Do they not strongly suggest that the Mesozoic and Paleozoic rock layers in which dinosaur, marine reptile, pterosaur, and other fossils with biomaterials are found are not as old as geologists have long believed—thousands, not hundreds of millions of years? Though evolutionists have advanced various theories attempting to explain millions-of-years-old biomaterials in light of evolution, the theories fall woefully short of explaining the evidence.21 Only a closed-minded, blind “faith” in the evolutionary paradigm would see soft, stretchy dinosaur tissue and immediately disregard the simple (and obvious) possibility that dinosaur fossils are not as old as uniformitarian geology and radiometric dating methods claim. And yet the evidence speaks clearly: Darwinian evolution over millions of years is not an adequate explanation for the origin of the Earth’s inhabitants. By using the Bible as the foundation for scientific study, biblical creationists had it right long before Darwinian evolution and uniformitarian geology emerged in the 19th century.
1 E.g., Eric Lyons and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), pp. 153-155; Kyle Butt (2009), “Recent Hype Over Dinosaur Soft Tissue,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/recent-hype-over-dinosaur-soft-tissue-2745/; Eric Lyons (2009), “Controversial Collagen Confirmation Points to Creation,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/controversial-collagen-confirmation-points-to-creation-338/.
2 The evidence shows that fossils can form in a matter of months in catastrophic conditions [e.g., Hisatada Akahane, Takeshi Furuno, Hiroshi Miyajima, Toshiyuki Yoshikawa, and Shigeru Yamamoto (2004), “Rapid Wood Silicification in Hot Spring Water: An Explanation of Silicification of Wood During the Earth’s History,” Sedimentary Geology, 169[3-4]:219-228, July 15; Alan Channing and Dianne Edwards (2004), “Experimental Taphonomy: Silicification of Plants in Yellowstone Hot-Spring Environments,” Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, 94:503-521], but on the upper end, scientists believe that “[p]reserved remains become fossils if they reach an age of about 10,000 years,” not millions [“Fossil” (2013), National Geographic: Resource Library on-line, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/fossil/].
3 Philip J. Senter (2021), “Preservation of Soft Tissues in Dinosaur Fossils: Compatibility with an Age of Millions of Years,” The American Biology Teacher, 83:298-302, emp. added.
4 Jeff Miller (2013), “Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad,” Reason & Revelation, 33:62-70, https://apologeticspress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/1306.pdf.
5 Geologists distinguish between relative ages and absolute ages when referring to dating geologic formations. Relative ages make mere comparisons (e.g., a deeper rock strata must be older than a higher rock strata), while absolute ages attempt to give “exact” ages (e.g., this rock is 65-75 million years old).
6 M. Schweitzer, et al. (2005), “Soft-tissue, Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus Rex,” Science, 307:1952-1955; E.M. Boatman, et al. (2020), “Mechanisms of Soft Tissue and Protein Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex,” Scientific Reports, 9, October 30.
7 M. Schweitzer, et al. (2009), “Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis,” Science, 324:626-631; P.V. Ullman, S.H. Pandya, and R. Nellermoe (2019), “Patterns of Soft Tissue and Cellular Preservation in Relation to Fossil Bone Tissue Structure and Overburden Depth at the Standing Rock Hadrosaur Site, Maastrichtian Hell Creek Formation, South Dakota, USA,” Cretaceous Research, 99:1-13.
8 Mark Armitage and Kevin Anderson (2013), “Soft Sheets of Fibrillar Bone from a Fossil of the Supraorbital Horn of the Dinosaur Triceratops horridus,” Acta Histochemica, 115:603-608.
9 L.R. Gurley, et al. (1991), “Proteins in the Fossil Bone of the Dinosaur, Seismosaurus,” Journal of Protein Chemistry, 10:75-90.
10 Kevin Anderson (2017), Echoes of the Jurassic (Chino Valley, AZ: CRS Books), pp. 34-35.
11 T. Lingham-Soliar (2008), “A Unique Cross Section Through the Skin of the Dinosaur Psittacosaurus from China Showing a Complex Fibre Architecture,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275:775-780.
12 Ullmann, et al., p. 1, emp. added.
13 Johan Lindgren, et al. (2011), “Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous Bone Proteins,” PLoS ONE, 6:e19445.
14 Johan Lindgren (2018), “Soft-tissue Evidence for Homeothermy and Crypsis in a Jurassic Ichthyosaur,” Nature, 564:359-365, December.
15 Eberhard Frey, et al. (2017), “A New Polycotylid Plesiosaur with Extensive Soft Tissue Preservation from the Early Late Cretaceous of Northeast Mexico,” Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana, 69:87-134.
16 Sergio Bertazzo, et al. (2015), “Fibres and Cellular Structures Preserved in 75-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Specimens,” Nature Communications, 6, https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8352, emp. added.
17 Victor Beccari, et al. (2021), “Osteology of an Exceptionally Well-preserved Tapejarid Skeleton from Brazil: Revealing the Anatomy of a Curious Pterodactyloid Clade,” PLoS ONE, August 25, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0254789.
18 “Extreme Headgear of a Plundered Pterosaur” (2021), Nature: Research Highlights, 597:10, September 2.
19 E.g., S. Christopher Bennett (2002), “Soft Tissue Preservation of the Cranial Crest of the Pterosaur Germanodactylus from Solnhofen,” Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 22:43-48; Alexander W.A. Kellner, et al. (2009), “The Soft Tissue of Jeholopterus (Pterosauria, Anurognathidae, Batrachognathinae) and the Structure of the Pterosaur Wing Membrane,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277:321-329; D. Hone, et al. (2015), “A Specimen of Rhamphorhynchus with Soft Tissue Preservation, Stomach Contents and a Putative Coprolite,” PeerJ, 3:e1191.
20 The Mesozoic rock layers in which are found dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and the aforementioned marine reptiles are thought by creationists to have been deposited during the biblical Flood (Genesis 6-9), roughly 4,500 years ago.
21 See the special Spring, 2015 Creation Research Society Quarterly issue devoted to the topic, as well as the subsequent work being conducted on the subject by the Creation Research Society (iDino2).
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