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Creation 36(1):12–14, January 2013

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Double-decade dinosaur disquiet

For twenty years now, dino bones have progressively divulged their contents to researchers who did not expect to find the likes of DNA and radiocarbon ‘millions of years’ after dinosaur extinction.


©iStockphoto.com/mjbs 8463-dino

Many dinosaur fossils include real bone—they are not completely mineralized, i.e. are not yet ‘rock’. And what is found inside those dinosaur bones is a huge surprise to many people. A series of discoveries since the early 1990s has revealed dino bones with blood cells, hemoglobin, fragile proteins, and soft tissue such as flexible ligaments and blood vessels. And of special note: DNA and radiocarbon.

This is enormously confronting for evolutionists, because how could such bones possibly be 65 million years old? As one of the researchers involved in the discovery of dinosaur blood cells, Dr Mary Schweitzer, said:

“If you take a blood sample, and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week. So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?”1

Why indeed? Unless of course they haven’t been extinct for millions of years, and their remains were preserved quickly under catastrophic conditions a few thousand years ago, or even more recently. But so entrenched is the evolutionary paradigm in the scientific community, that it soon became known that Dr Schweitzer was having trouble getting her results published. “I had one reviewer tell me that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible,” says Schweitzer. “I wrote back and said, ‘Well, what data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’”

Schweitzer recounts how she noticed that a T. rex skeleton (from Hell Creek, Montana) had a distinctly cadaverous odour. When she mentioned this to long-time paleontologist Jack Horner,2 he said, “Oh yeah, all Hell Creek bones smell.” But so ingrained is the notion among paleontologists that dinosaur bones must be millions of years old that the ‘smell of death’ didn’t even register with them—despite the evidence being right under their noses.3 Schweitzer herself does not seem able or willing to escape the long-age paradigm, despite her direct involvement in many of the discoveries. Note the timeline of these findings across two decades—pointed and regular reminders that something is very wrong with dinosaur-millions-of-years ideas:

In 1993, dinosaur bone blood cells give Mary Schweitzer ‘goosebumps’.4,5

In 1997, hemoglobin, as well as recognizable red blood cells, in T. rex bone.6,7,8

In 2003, evidence of the protein osteocalcin.9

In 2005, flexible ligaments and blood vessels.10,11,12

In 2007, collagen (an important structural protein in bone) in T. rex bone.13,14

In 2009, the fragile proteins elastin and laminin, and further confirmation of collagen—in a duck-billed dinosaur.15,16 (If the dinosaur fossils really were as old as claimed, none of these proteins should have been present.)

In 2012, bone cells (osteocytes), the proteins actin and tubulin, and DNA(!) were reported.17,18 (Measured rates of decomposition of these proteins, and especially DNA, show that they could not have lasted for the presumed 65 million years since dinosaur extinction. This is more in keeping with the biblical timeframe of thousands of years.)

In 2012, radiocarbon was reported.19,20 (But carbon-14 decays so quickly that if the remains were even 100,000 years old, none should be detectable!)

Note that the attempts by evolutionists to explain away many of these findings as contamination, and also their unconcealed moves to stifle reporting of the radiocarbon result in particular,19,20 testify to an unwillingness to face up to evidence that challenges the long-age paradigm. A truly open-minded observer must surely ask, “Why?”

References and notes

  1. Yeoman, B., Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery, Discover 27(4):37–41; p. 39, 2006. Return to text.
  2. Renowned for many dinosaur discoveries, e.g. he led a team that retrieved over 80 fossil specimens from a single site in Mongolia. See: Walker, T., Massive graveyard of parrot-beaked dinosaurs in Mongolia—Paleontologists puzzle about the cause of death but miss the obvious clue, creation.com/dino-graveyard, 26 October 2007. Return to text.
  3. For more on this see: Catchpoole, D. and Sarfati, J., Schweitzer’s dangerous discovery, creation.com/schweit, 19 July 2006. Return to text.
  4. Morell, V., Dino DNA: The hunt and the hype, Science 261(5118):160–162, 1993. Return to text.
  5. Dinosaur bone blood cells found, Creation 16(1):9, 1993; creation.com/t-rex-blood. Return to text.
  6. Schweitzer, M., and 8 others, Heme compounds in dinosaur trabecular bone, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 94:6291–6296, 1997. Return to text.
  7. M. Schweitzer, M. and Staedter, I., The Real Jurassic Park, Earth, June 1997, pp. 55–57. Return to text.
  8. See also: Wieland, C., Sensational dinosaur blood report! Creation 19(4):42–43, 1997; creation.com/dino-blood. Return to text.
  9. Specifically, bones of an Iguanodon ‘dating’ to 120 million years of age contained enough of the protein osteocalcin to produce an immune reaction. Embery, G., and 5 others, Identification of proteinaceous material in the bone of the dinosaur Iguanodon, Connective Tissue Research 44 Suppl 1:41–46, 2003. Return to text.
  10. Schweitzer, M. and 3 others, Soft-tissue vessels and cellular preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex, Science 307(5717):1952–1955, 2005. Return to text.
  11. Stokstad, E., Tyrannosaurus rex soft tissue raises tantalizing prospects, Science 307(5717):1852, 2005. Return to text.
  12. See also: Wieland, C., Dinosaur soft-tissue find—a stunning rebuttal of ‘millions of years’, creation.com/stretchy, 25 March 2005. Return to text.
  13. Schweitzer, M. and 6 others, Analyses of soft tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex suggest the presence of protein, Science 316(5822):277–280, 2007. Return to text.
  14. See also: Doyle, S., Squishosaur scepticism squashed—Tests confirm proteins found in T. rex bones, creation.com/collagen, 20 April 2007. Return to text.
  15. Schweitzer, M. and 15 others, Biomolecular characterization and protein sequences of the Campanian hadrosaur B. canadensis, Science 324(5927):626–631, 2009. Return to text.
  16. Also see: Wieland, C., Dinosaur soft tissue and protein—even more confirmation! creation.com/schweit2, 6 May 2009. Return to text.
  17. Key extract from the paper’s summary: “These data are the first to support preservation of multiple proteins [viz. actin, tubulin, PHEX, histone H4] and to present multiple lines of evidence for material consistent with DNA in dinosaurs.” Schweitzer, M. and 3 others, Molecular analyses of dinosaur osteocytes support the presence of endogenous molecules, Bone 52(1):414–423, 2013. Return to text.
  18. See also: Sarfati, J., DNA and bone cells found in dinosaur bone, J. Creation 27(1):10–12, 2013; creation.com/dino-dna, 11 December 2012. Return to text.
  19. Press release “Dinosaur bones’ Carbon-14 dated to less than 40,000 years—Censored international conference report” and additional information, newgeology.us/presentation48.html, accessed 27 December 2012. Return to text.
  20. See also: Wieland, C., Radiocarbon in dino bones—International conference result censored, creation.com/c14-dinos, 22 January 2013. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

Michael I.
Thank you so very much Dr. Catchpoole. This is an article that I will be sure to share with a sort of old earth theistic evolutionist friend of mine. He and I have had a few discussions of the age of earth and so on. I’ve asked about transitional phases [forms] once in which he stated something like “evolution is a curve, you can’t really measure a curve.” I was kind of drawn back at the statement's absurdity though I did not say that to him. We also briefly talked on the possibility of dinosaurs and man inhabiting earth at the same time which he believes impossible. I hope this article will make him think. I also very much look forward to the up and coming article you mentioned. God bless.
K. A.
I read in the news that iron in haem is supposed to help in preservation but I don't understand how they can assume that it would preserve tissue for up to 65,000,000 years; that seems a bit bizarre to me. Plus seeing that DNA and radiocarbon has also been found in dinosaur bones, the question of Dino age should already be settled. They are no older than the oldest human fossils. Anyway I look forward to reading the response to Schweitzer's recent haemoglobin research.
David Catchpoole
Yes, I've seen a first draft of what our staff have produced so far. It'll become a landmark article, I'm sure.
Paul G.
It is important to mention that Dr. Schweitzer, though a Christian, does not always apprecaite her data being interpreted this way. When interviewed for smithsonianmag.com, she said of some fellow Christians: “They treat you really bad,” she says. “They twist your words and they manipulate your data.” For her, science and religion represent two different ways of looking at the world; invoking the hand of God to explain natural phenomena breaks the rules of science. After all, she says, what God asks is faith, not evidence. “If you have all this evidence and proof positive that God exists, you don’t need faith. I think he kind of designed it so that we’d never be able to prove his existence. And I think that’s really cool.”
David Catchpoole
Certainly Romans 1:20 contradicts that fideistic fallacy, as a moment's reflection will show. Because, if Mary Schweitzer is correct in that quote [i.e. the last one attributed to her by Paul G. above], then every atheist on the planet will have an excuse on judgement day:

"I looked around, God, and there was no evidence of your existence, everything just looked like it made itself [evolved]!".

But God's Word says NO-ONE will have an excuse because of what He created. The creation shows there is a Creator.

It seems to me that Dr Schweitzer reads her Bible (if she does!) like a materialist. Perhaps her problem is that verses like these (e.g. Romans 1:20, 8:19-22; 2 Peter 3:3-6) just never come alive for her ...?

See also Schweitzer's dangerous discoverys and Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation.
Cameron M.
Much like Chris H., I find the flooding of the idea of millions of years aimed at children to be disturbing. But then again what easier way is it to catch them into this thinking, than when they are young! We have a doona cover that has lots of dinosaurs and their respective "ages" in millions of years. I inform my children that this is what is currently accepted by the world, however, the Bible tells us differently; thousands of years and co-existence. And that's where the battle is: The Word of God versus the word of Man.
Chris H.
Thank you David for the article. My children have a novel called "Saurus Street" by Nick Falk, which talks about dinosaurs, 70 million years, etc. I winced when I read it because at so young an age these assumptions are peddled to us...
dean R.
I would like to see this taught in schools across the globe. Kids to my knowledge are still being shown Haeckel's illustrations among other things.

Certain science communities are extremely slow to move on some things or unwilling to budge using extinct data which really does leave a bad smell, figuratively speaking.

The selective hearing of the media is also telling.

Considering the investment over the years with so much at stake what a huge embarrassment it would be to go public.

Thanks for the dedication & teaching. My family have really benefited from your labour. God bless
Dr John Leslie
David, Thanks for the nice summary of non-fossilized tissues in dinosaurs. In my research degree I did some sequencing of part of a protein molecule, and latter some work with DNA. Great precautions had to be taken to avoid the degradation of the protein and DNA once the cells of the tissue of the organism start to be broken down. This occured when the DNA or protein was being isolated from the tissue. Enzyme inhibitors, separation by different sovlents, rapid freezing or drying, and molecular sieving had to be used to protect the DNA or protein. When I first heard of intact protein in dinosaur bone or joints, I was astounded. Even as a young age Creationist I would not have expected this. In my mind these data argue for a very rapid burial, which was massive (probably resulting in mostly anoxic conditions-without oxygen) for such large organisms, and that it was a recent event. This is of course consistent with the eye witness account described by Noah in the Bible.
Dr John G Leslie PhD, MD, PhD
Cody T.

Thanks you for this wonderful site.

I have a question I have always wondered about. I am sure it is in one of your many books, but I am unable to find it at the moment.

From where did the famous '65 million years' come?. "They" never mention how this number was established. I presume, like all the other dates, that it is essentially made up. This number has been beaten into society's head now for decades as the age of the dinosaurs. Who was the first to come up with it and how did they allegedly obtain this number?.

Thanks as always for your work,
David Catchpoole
Thanks Cody, and it's a very good question--one that many evolutionists would be hard pressed to answer! Far be it from us to answer on their behalf (lest they then accuse us of misrepresenting them), but suffice to say, their assumptions are replete with inbuilt circular reasoning. See, e.g.,
The pigs took it all,
Evolutionary troubles with the origin and demise of dinosaurs, and
End-Mesozoic extinction of dinosaurs partly based on circular reasoning.
Stephon L.
What I don't understand is with so much tax payers money being spent on evolutionary research; why is it that we never hear any of this on TV, even to try and explain it away?
All we get force-fed is the 'fact' of evolution with no evidence to back it up.
I also wonder why these findings never seem to wipe that smug look off Richard Dawkins face?
David Catchpoole
Re: "even to try and explain it away?" The popular media have recently in fact given much coverage to claims that iron is the key to millions-of-years preservation of dino soft tissue. CMI is at present preparing to issue a public response to these claims. (Keep an eye out for it on the creation.com front page!)
Marc A.
The mere fact that these bones do smell indicates that decay is still occurring. This contradicts any idea that somehow decay was suspended and the bones preserved for 65 million years.
Ian H.
This information is priceless! Creation Ministries uses the title 'Missionary Lizards' to describe dinosaurs, there are numerous historical artistic artifacts that also point to man's interaction with dinosaurs thus negating a pivotal aspect of Evolution - that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
Although we cannot convert anyone (Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.) we can give or show this evidence to those we meet to place a stone in their shoe.

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