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Creation 21(1):54–55, December 1998

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Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles below.

Dinosaur bones—just how old are they really?

An evolutionary dinosaur expert reveals some fascinating facts!


by  Carl Wieland

Most people think that fossil bones (of which the most well-known examples are those of dinosaurs) must be very, very old—because, after all, they have turned to stone, haven’t they?

Even millions of years might, to some, not even seem long enough to allow for natural processes to gradually, molecule by molecule, replace the original substance of the bone with rock minerals.

But this common picture is misleading. A recent book, co-authored by a world expert on dinosaurs, points out some things about dinosaur bones that are of great interest to creationists.1

For one thing, it says:

‘Bones do not have to be “turned into stone” to be fossils, and usually most of the original bone is still present in a dinosaur fossil.’2

Ok, but even if the actual bone is not replaced by rock minerals, some fossil dinosaur bones are rock-hard, and show under the microscope when cut that they have been thoroughly ‘permineralized.’ This means that rock minerals have been deposited into all the spaces within the original bone. Doesn’t this show that the formation of these fossils, at least, must represent a long time? Think again. The same authoritative work also tells us:

‘The amount of time that it takes for a bone to become completely permineralized is highly variable. If the groundwater is heavily laden with minerals in solution, the process can happen rapidly. Modern bones that fall into mineral springs can become permineralized within a matter of weeks.’

So even a rock-solid, hard shiny fossil dinosaur bone, showing under the microscope that all available spaces have been totally filled with rock minerals, does not indicate that it necessarily took millions of years to form at all.

Now of course if a dinosaur bone is indeed permineralized, it would give it great protection from the normal processes which cause things such as bone to just naturally ‘fall apart.’ So a permineralized bone might indeed be anything from a few weeks to millions of years old.

However, in a situation where the dinosaur bone has been prevented from being invaded by mineral-rich water, one would expect that over millions of years, even locked away from all bacterial agents, dinosaur bone would, in obeying the laws of thermodynamics,3  just disintegrate from the random motions of the molecules therein.

The nodules prevented water from invading the bones, which for all intents and purposes cannot be distinguished from modern bone.

There are actually instances, mentioned in the same book, in which dinosaur bones in Alberta, Canada, were encased in ironstone nodules shortly after being buried. We are told:

‘The nodules prevented water from invading the bones, which for all intents and purposes cannot be distinguished from modern bone.’4

This is a stunning revelation. Evolutionists are convinced that all dinosaur bones must be at least 65 million years old. Those who take Genesis as real history would predict that no dinosaur bone is more than a few thousand years old, so the existence of such totally unmineralized dinosaur bones that have not disintegrated is perfectly consistent with our expectations.

We have previously told you about the unfossilized dinosaur bone which still contained red blood cells and hemoglobin.5  Also, we wrote about ‘fresh dinosaur bones’ in Alaska.6  Let the evolutionist experts writing this book confirm this:

‘An even more spectacular example was found on the North Shore of Alaska, where many thousands of bones lack any significant degree of permineralization. The bones look and feel like old cow bones, and the discoverers of the site did not report it for twenty years because they assumed they were bison, not dinosaur, bones.’

In summary, therefore:

  1. Most fossil dinosaur bones still contain the original bone.
  2. Even when heavily permineralized (‘fossilized’), this does not need to require more than a few weeks. The Creation/Flood scenario for fossilization would allow many centuries for such permineralization to occur, even under less than ideal conditions.
  3. Where bones have not been protected by permineralization, they are sometimes found in a condition which to all intents and purpose looks as if they are at most centuries, not millions of years old.

The Bible’s account of the true history of the world makes it clear that no fossil can be more than a few thousand years old. Dinosaur bones give evidence strongly consistent with this.

References and notes

  1. Currie, P.J., and Koppelhus, E.B., 101 Questions about Dinosaurs, Dover Publications, 1996. Currie is a well-known dinosaur authority. He is Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. Koppelhus is a visiting researcher at the same institution. Return to text.
  2. Ref. 1, p. 11. Return to text.
  3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics formalizes the relentless tendency of all systems to strive toward the most probable arrangement which, in the absence of some specific ordering agent, is the one in which the molecules exhibit the maximum disorder. For more information, see The Second Law of ThermodynamicsReturn to text.
  4. Ref. 1, p. 12. Return to text.
  5. Wieland, C., Sensational dinosaur blood report! Creation 19(4):42–43, 1997. Return to text.
  6. Helder, M., Fresh dinosaur bones foundCreation 14(3):16–17, 1992 and Buddy Davis: The creation music man who makes dinosaurs, Creation 19(3):49–51, 1997. Return to text.