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Hadrosaur skin found

Flickr/CLS Research Office (CC BY-SA 2.0) 8658-mauricio-barbi
University of Regina researcher Mauricio Barbi holds a hadrosaur skin sample that he and his colleagues hope will still contain melanosomes, the cellular organelles that contain pigments that control skin colour. “If we are able to observe the melanosomes and their shape, it will be the first time pigments have been identified in the skin of a dinosaur,” he said. “We have no real idea [yet] what the skin looks like. Is it green, blue, orange …”1


Published: 23 July 2013 (GMT+10)

Such is the power of the dinosaurs-died-out-millions-of-years-ago paradigm, that it not only limits what scientists expect to find, but also bizarrely affects how they view ‘unexpected’ evidence when they do find it.

The discovery of hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) skin near Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, is a classic example. University of Regina researcher Mauricio Barbi recounts: “As we excavated the fossil, I thought we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary—this is real skin. Everyone involved with the excavation was incredibly excited ….”2

Their excitement is understandable. Everybody is taught that dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago yet here is a piece of real skin. No wonder they didn’t expect to find it, and initially thought it must have been only a skin impression. The basic question arising from the discovery ought now to have been, “Why is it that we’ve been taught these fossils are millions of years old, when here quite plainly is evidence to the contrary?”

Instead, Mauricio Barbi and colleagues are trying to answer their question: “how the fossil remained intact for around 70 million years.”

They plan to use the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron to look at melanosomes—the cellular organelles that contain pigments that control the colour of an animal’s skin.

“If we are able to observe the melanosomes and their shape, it will be the first time pigments have been identified in the skin of a dinosaur,” said Barbi. That will determine if the hadrosaur skin was green or grey like most dinosaurs are currently portrayed, or a completely different colour.

CLS scientist Tim May is also amazed: “It is astonishing that we can get information like this from such an old sample.”

And Barbi further mused: “What’s not clear is what happened to this dinosaur and how it died. There is something special about this fossil and the area where it was found, and I am going to find out what it is.”3

If only these researchers could look at the world’s geological and fossil evidence through the biblical framework of a 6,000-years-ago Creation and 4,500-years-ago Flood timeline, they would be way less incredulous.

Dino skin “glossy and black, unlike anything I had ever seen in the field before”

Flickr/CLS Research Office (CC BY-SA 2.0) 8658-hadrosaur-skin

The photo at left shows part of the hadrosaur skin sample found in a remote area of northwestern Alberta known as the Wapiti formation. It was found by paleontologist Philip Bell, who trawls the dry riverbeds there every summer, looking to see if the spring runoff has exposed any fossils.

Sure enough, in June 2012 he and his team came upon a cliff that had collapsed, revealing dinosaur remains. “I first picked up a bit with skin impressions, and I thought, great, there should be more in there,” he said. “We immediately changed our approach to make sure everything was kept in pristine condition. Soon, we hit upon a section of skin that was glossy and black, unlike anything I had ever seen in the field before. We looked at it closely, and realized that it had a three-dimensional structure.”4

Now, does Dr Bell consider that the standard textbook slow-and-gradual processes were at work to preserve this skin so exquisitely? Despite believing in millions-of-years and evolution, he says: “Obviously skin is something that decays rapidly, so the fossilization must have been incredibly fast.”

For some enlightening material on how such fast fossilization could occur, Dr Bell would do well to read our articles Deluge disaster and Dinosaur herd buried in Noah’s Flood in Inner Mongolia.


  1. Kretzel, L., Scientists use U of S synchrotron to study dinosaur skin, Saskatoon News—News Talk 650 CKOM, ckom.com, 29 April 2013. Return to text.
  2. Scientists study rare dinosaur skin fossil to determine skin colour for first time, phys.org, 29 April 2013. Return to text.
  3. Foley, J., What color were dinosaurs? Test of ancient skin sample will reveal final answer, Nature World News, natureworldnews.com, 29 April 2013. Return to text.
  4. In the skin of a … hadrosaur?, Scientific Canadian, tylerirving.ca, 6 May 2013. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments

Douglas J.
Webster #2 definition of religion A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices. #3 scrupulous conformity,#4 a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardbr and faith. ie something one believes by faith. A recent debate between prof. Richard Dawkins (atheist, evolutionist) author of "God Delusion" Oxford and Prof. John Lennox Philosophy of Science /Mathematics, Cambridge Lennox stated "evolution, naturalism is a religion" Dawkins objected, Lennox asked Dawkins "do you believe it?" End of discussion. A faith-based belief is a religion including evolution and millions of yrs. The public education institutions are teaching it to our kids.
Sandy J.
It is interesting to read the myopic comments by those who are brainwashed in the evolution religion. The person who stated that religion should be kept out of science is correct, but does not realize in what way they are correct. IT IS TIME TO LIBERATE SCIENCE FROM THE EVOLUTION RELIGION, look at scientific facts and allow the facts to dictate what is indicated: "millions of years" or catastrophe, instead of allowing the pre-determined agenda of the "evolution" religion to dictate how facts are interpreted.
Lisa S.
Gert - ignore religious interpretations, but look at the facts. Even if you want to believe that we were "seeded" by aliens, that fits the facts better than evolutionary theory. There are simply no answers for the anomalies that disprove the theory. The populace at large blindly accept anything fed to them. Look at the complexities yourself and ask the correct questions. If I never accepted Christianity or any other faith that teaches creation, I still could not ever accept the laughable theory of evolution. Machines don't make themselves, even ones made of meat.
RoseAnn S.
If they didn't revise their thinking when Dr. Schweitzer found soft tissue and blood cells in TRex bones; it is unlikely they will revise their thinking now that they have found skin. I believe Dr. Schweitzer had her lab assistant check the samples 18 times - not believing the findings. Like a friend of mine always says, "You can't confuse people with the facts once their minds are made up."
David Catchpoole
It was actually 17 times, as we reported again recently: DNA and bone cells found in dinosaur bone.
Ron H.
It would be very interesting to explore whether structures exist(ed) in the skin samples that are similar to today's chameleons, "mini-saurs" able to change color to meet their camouflage requirements.
Karen M.
Dear Gert,
You are correct in saying we should not let religion enter into the interpretation of the evidence we see. Religion is man made and this is exactly what evolution is, a man made set of ideas that takes a great leap of faith to believe in. Even if we did not presuppose our belief in a Creator, the evidence by itself tells us the earth is only a few thousand years old. It is ironic that your faith in evolution is so great, no evidence will change your mind.
D. C.
@Gert. The article is not using religion or ancient Jewish history to evaluate science. They are using simple logic, which leads to a clear conclusion that it is the stubborn refusal of the scientists to admit the major flaws in evolutionary theory that "just does not make sense at all."
G. B.
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth.":

Lindsay B.
Dr Catchpoole,

What a wonderful find! This evidence, along with the liquid blood found recently, is stunning testimony to the truth of the bible.

I just wondered: How do they know it is the skin of a hadrosaur? I guess it was found with the skeleton. If that is the case, what else was found?

Also, is it possible that these scientists are throwing away a lot of evidence because they are not expecting to find anything but stony bones?

David Catchpoole
Re your last question, in the past that has very likely been the case. Hopefully now however, given the increasing reports of soft-tissue finds, researchers will be taking much more care with samples and new discoveries than in the past.
Gert R.
Anyone using the Bible, being the history and saga of the Jewish people as a yardstick for measuring anything must have his head read.

Science, which has been systematically suppressed for centuries by Christianity I believe should keep quiet and not entering any scientific discussions based on ancient Jewish history.

It just do not make any sense at all. Keep religion out of science.

So be It
David F.
You can lead the hordes to water, but you can't make them drink. You can lead some scientists to a discovery, but you can't make them think, not properly anyway. Isn't the scientific process supposed to go a bit like this: Examine the evidence and don't discard it until it has been properly and exhaustively investigated. Nowadays it goes more like this: 1.Discovery 2. Conclusion 3. Investigation 4. Re-iterating the Conclusion after discarding key evidence. I'm just glad they chose science and not criminal justice as their field of EXPERTISE.
Richard G.
Two things: 1. The skin is obviously very young, i.e. thousands of years, 2. The interpretation based on the skin being very old, i.e. millions of years, defies logic and common sense, and even worse, reveals how prejudiced and biased the scientists are who deny what the facts display.
See 'Evolution Exposed' at the Mighty Mag website.
David B.
Hmmmm, that is rather odd. I don't recall hearing a thing about this in the mainstream media. Usually, when there is a significant find regarding dinosaurs, we hear it trumpeted on every front page of the land. I suppose it is because this did not fit with the agenda that the story was spiked this time
G. A.
Just 30 minutes ago, my son rang me from a country in Asia, where he is living with his family saying, 'Dad, all we can find on dino's is evolutionary thinking. what have you got on Dinosaurs from a creationist viewpoint'. (his wife home schools their children) A pleasure to send this and other info, that shows evidence of recent times (in the thousands of years) existence of dino's, and how the illogical flaws of evolutionary thinking, draws wrong conclusions. Thanks CMI
Egil W.
Evolutionists can anyway not get around how common it is for fossils to show catastrophic burial. I mean, when nests and eggs are found fossilised, the scenario of "dinosaurs wading into tarpits" get a little useless. A worldwide flood would have made "tarpit" (or tarpit-like conditions) out of all of the "lost world" in the days of Noah. All the fossils that show rapid burial of seacreatures (I mean; being buried under tons of sediments under water), and stuff that normally would be found, well, not dropped in a tarpit, fits much better with a global deluge, than with a evolutionary scenario. Actually, I believe a worldwide deluge would practically account for both a history of-, and a mechanism of- fossilation for the greater part of known fossils. That is "why" do we find so many dead animals burried? And "what" is the cause of sediments being put into the place of biological matter contra just common rotting away? Still; millions of years (instead of thousands) would undo any remains of biological matter. Together with evidence from "living fossils" and many descriptions and depictions in human history of "dragons" and sea-monsters, findings such as mentioned in this article should really make evolutionists dare to question their own paradigm. And to rethink where the hard, or soft, evidence actually points...

God bless to CMI
Keep up the good work!
David G.
I think the discoverers have forgotten, by years of self-indoctrination, just how long 70 million years is: they have to be kidding themselves that the skin would not decay in that time! But it also goes to show how strong the prevailing paradigm is, as Kuhn discussed decades ago in his book.
K. A.
This was an interesting article. One of many on dinosaurs. It's amazing that after all the mounting evidence that dinosaur remains are young, paleontologists can still be so blind.
Francis R.
Thank you for this article David, and your thought provoking comments interspersed within. It really is exciting each time scientists uncover fossils that are in a condition that increases support of the Bible's account of Noah's Flood.

Creationists can expect that further fossil finds in the future will contain biological material that will continue to dumbfound the evolutionary scientists but put a huge "I told you so" smile on Creationists.

This article also makes me realise that evolutionists have, by and large, the same degree of faith in their theory as much as creationist Christians have in the Holy Scriptures. The only difference is that whilst ours is a logical and reasoned faith based on the twin pillars of historical records (The Bible) and nature (the creation), evolutionists base their faith on unproven assumptions of history on the one hand, and contradictory and unsubstantiated interpretations of the fossils and rocks on the other. This just goes to show not only how extreme the gap dividing the two faiths are but the impossibility of creationists and evolutionists ever seeing eye to eye.
Ian H.
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Only the SALT of The Law can made a sinful man drink from the Living Waters of Life in Christ Jesus.

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