Fascinating four-chambered fossil find!
Medical X-ray scans reveal the structure of a fossilized dinosaur’s heart! (preliminary report)
21 April 2000
News is breaking across the world of a sensational dinosaur discovery. The fossilized interior of a Thescelosaurus (a plant-eating dinosaur about 13 feet long including the tail) was subjected to medical X-ray scans, and it appears to show very clearly the structure of a four-chambered heart.
If so, this is fascinating for a number of reasons.
It confirms very rapid fossilization, not slow and gradual over long timespans. The heart is a soft tissue, which after death will be very rapidly attacked by microbes and other decay processes. It is not conceivable that the structure of the chambers of a heart will last in any recognizable form for more than a few weeks at the absolute outset, unless they are subject to rapid preservation. If it turns out that the tissue has been preserved by permineralization, then this is further evidence that permineralization (i.e. being infiltrated with mineral solutions that then harden) does not take long time periods.
A four-chambered heart is like that of humans, mammals, and birds. Most reptiles alive today have three-chambered hearts. It has long been thought that this is inevitably associated with the fact that reptiles are cold-blooded. So it will now be claimed that this four-chambered heart is certain proof that the dinosaurs were warm-blooded. Others will claim it as showing (in the face of recent spectacular failures and frauds) that birds did evolve from dinosaurs after all. Let’s examine those claims.
While it is true that cold-bloodedness in extant animals today is associated with a three-chambered heart, it is by no means therefore certain that a four-chambered heart has to mean warm-bloodedness.
On the basis of Genesis creation, it has always been an open question whether dinosaurs were warm- or cold-blooded. The controversy has long been raging among evolutionists. Certain aspects of their microscopic bone structure have suggested the cold-blooded state; then again their discovery at extreme latitudes has suggested otherwise.
Since dinosaurs did not descend from one common ancestor, there is no reason why they necessarily need to have all been one or the other. Perhaps some dinosaur baramins1 were warm-blooded, others cold-blooded. Some researchers have pointed out that the very large types would have had such a huge thermal capacity (‘heat sink’) in their body fluids anyway, that it would have been almost a moot issue from an efficiency viewpoint. After this discovery, other relatively ‘intact’ dinosaur fossils will doubtless be scanned in similar ways, so it will be interesting to see what further design features will be found.
Assuming that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, why would this prove the dinosaurs-evolved-into-birds theory? People have four-chambered hearts, too, and are warm-blooded, but it is not claimed that dinosaurs evolved into people. Evolutionists might easily claim that the four-chambered state evolved separately, by ‘parallel evolution’. The point is that similar design features, to evolution-believers, can either be explained as evidence of common ancestry where the story ‘fits’, or where it doesn’t fit, explained away by ‘convergent’ or ‘parallel’ evolution.
In other cases of well-preserved internal organs, evolutionists who oppose the ‘dino-to-bird’ theory on scientific grounds (well documented on this website—for example, in the article Archaeoraptor—Phony ‘feathered’ fossil, especially the references in Note 4) have shown that these organs are very reptilian in layout, quite different from that expected of an ancestor to birds; also, that the dinosaur lung was of the bellows-type typical of reptiles, with no sign of changing into the very different lung of the bird (Blown away by design: Michael Denton and birds’ lungs).
If indeed this evidence is what it is claimed to be, it shows that at least this type of dinosaur could easily have been fast-moving and warm-blooded. The notion of dinosaurs as ‘primitive’ or ‘poorly adapted’ recedes still further into the background.
This makes even more difficulty for evolutionists trying to explain the extinction of dinosaurs (in their worldview) from, for example, the consequences of an asteroid impact. If the dinosaurs had the same cardiovascular efficiency and mobility as mammals, why did all dinosaurs die out from this alleged ecological disaster, and many mammals survive? The creationist has no such problem, as death and extinction from the Curse is happening all the time, and there is no ‘Age of Dinosaurs’ followed by an ‘Age with no Dinosaurs’ to explain.
The four-chambered heart is a design feature found in a huge number of animals alive today, and there is no reason at all why such a created feature might not also be found in animals which have since died out in this fallen world.
The existence of such anatomical detail in a fossil creature alleged to have died 66 million years ago is much more consistent with rapid burial of the animal in a huge catastrophic Flood than the usual ‘slow-and-gradual’, long-age scenario of evolution.
NB: This is a preliminary report based on early-breaking news reports only. When more scientific data are available, this preliminary report and comment will be modified/updated as—and if—required.
Update (13 October 2000): Some scientists have claimed that this ‘heart’ was really ‘a fairly ordinary concretion’, i.e. fossilized mud. See Dinosaur heart update: Just a lump of mud?
- Baramin = created kind (from Hebrew bara = create and min = kind) A small lizard, by contrast, can easily lose its body heat very quickly on cool days or overnight, so needs to ‘warm up’ in the sun. The thinking is that once a big Apatosaurus, for instance, warmed up, it would not lose its heat quickly enough prior to the next sun-warming episode, i.e. its internal temperature would be greatly buffered even if cold-blooded. Return to text.