Creation 14(3):16–17, June 1992
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Fresh dinosaur bones found
The lady was highly skeptical. This guide, who moments before had been discussing animal ecology and evolution, found when confronted with news of the new discovery—that she simply could not believe it. She could not accept that fresh (not permineralized, meaning unfossilized) dinosaur bones had been found in Alaska. Such bones could never have lasted 70 million years, she said.
Unlikely or not, it is a fact that such bones have been found. However, whether they could have lasted in that condition more than a few thousand years is a matter which demands attention.
In 1987, while working with scientists from Memorial University (Newfoundland, Canada) on Bylot Island, just east of the northern tip of Baffin Island, a young Inuit (Canadian Eskimo) picked up a bone fragment. It was identified within days as part of the lower jaw of a duckbill dinosaur and proclaimed to the world as such.1
The story was different however in north-western Alaska. In 1961 a petroleum geologist discovered a large, half-metre-thick bone bed. As the bones were fresh, not permineralized, he assumed that these were recent bison bones. It took 20 years for scientists to recognize duckbill dinosaur bones in this deposit as well as the bones of horned dinosaurs, and large and small carnivorous dinosaurs. Presently William A. Clemens and other scientists from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Alaska are quarrying the bone bed.2
How these bones could have remained in fresh condition for 70 million years is a perplexing question. One thing is certain: they were not preserved by cold. Everyone recognizes that the climate in these regions was much warmer during the time when the dinosaurs lived. In central Alberta abundant plant remains indicate that the climate here was semi-tropical. It is standard geological interpretation that even after the dinosaurs died out, the entire planet was much warmer, perhaps as the result of high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Why then did these bones not decay long ago?
Similar perplexing questions can be asked about the ‘frozen forest’ found even further north on Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian Arctic, less than 1,200 kilometres from the North Pole.
Geologists claim that these forest remains are about 45 million years old. Nevertheless, the wood and leaf debris are astonishingly well preserved. The plant material is not petrified. The logs are still wood which can be sawn and burnt. The leaf debris and cones include some specimens recognizable as dawn redwood.3 This tree does not presently grow even as far south as Alberta, except in conservatories like the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton and the Palaeoconservatory at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Druinheller.
The temperate forest, preserved in the Arctic, seems to have been particularly lush, with 50-metre trees with trunk diameters of two metres, crowded only about six metres apart.
These recent developments are certainly food for thought. It is undeniable that fresh dinosaur bones have been found. Items have appeared in the secular literature saying exactly that. It is also evident that preservation in the fresh state for even one million years is highly unlikely.
The obvious conclusion is that these bones were deposited in relatively recent times. This bone bed is stunning evidence that the time of the dinosaurs was not millions of years ago, but perhaps only thousands. It is time geologists recognized the implications of their own data.
Blood and soft tissue in T. rex bone:
- 01 Dec 1993 Dinosaur bone blood cells found
- 01 Sep 1997 Sensational dinosaur blood report!
- 25 Mar 2002 Evolutionist questions CMI report—Have red blood cells really been found in T. rex fossils?
- 25 Mar 2005 Still soft and stretchy: Dinosaur soft tissue find—a stunning rebuttal of ‘millions of years’
- 28 Mar 2005 “Ostrich-osaurus” discovery?
- 16 May 2005 Squirming at the Squishosaur
- 01 Sep 2005 Dino soft tissue find
- 01 Dec 2005 Answering objections to creationist ‘dinosaur soft tissue’ age arguments
- 19 Jul 2006 ‘Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery’
- 16 Dec 2006 Why don’t they carbon-test dino fossils?
- 20 Apr 2007 Squishosaur scepticism squashed: Tests confirm proteins found in T. rex bones
- 02 Aug 2008 Doubting doubts about the Squishosaur
- 06 May 2009 Dinosaur soft tissue and protein—even more confirmation!
- 09 May 2009 Dino proteins and blood vessels: are they a big deal?
- 01 Dec 2009 More confirmation for dinosaur soft tissue and protein
Other examples of soft tissue preservation in fossils:
- 01 Aug 1998 Exceptional soft-tissue preservation in a fossilised dinosaur
- 30 May 2000 ‘Sue’ the T. rex: another ‘missionary lizard’
- 01 Dec 2002 Feathered or furry dinosaurs? Soft tissue preservation
- 01 Apr 2004 Bone building: perfect protein (See paragraph six re osteocalcin in Iguanodon bones.)
- 01 Apr 2006 A fossil is a fossil is a fossil. Right?
- 07 Dec 2007 Hadrosaur hi-jinx: Will this find reveal more unfossilised soft tissues?
- 01 Jun 2008 The real ‘Jurassic Park’
- 11 Nov 2009 Best ever find of soft tissue (muscle and blood) in a fossil
- Dinosaur Questions and Answers
- ‘Young’ age of the Earth & Universe Q&A
- Accounts of this appeared in the popular press, such as in the Edmonton Journal, October 26, 1987, a few months after the event, and in Saturday Night (a monthly magazine of analysis of current events) in August 1989, Vol. 104 No. 8, pp. 16–19.Return to text.
- An initial announcement was printed in 1985 in Geological Society of America abstract programs Vol. 17, p. 548. Already in press at that time was an article describing the site and the condition of the bones (Kyle L. Davies, ‘Duck-bill Dinosaurs (Hadrosauridae, Ornithischia) from the North Slope of Alaska’, Journal of Paleontology, Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 198–200.Return to text.
- Time, September 22, 1986, p. 64; J.F. Bazinger, ‘Our “tropical”? Arctic’, Canadian Geographic, Vol. 106, No. 6, pp. 28–37 (1986/7).Return to text.
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