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Triceratops soft tissue

More dinosaur soft tissue found and carbon dated

Published: 19 November 2016 (GMT+10)

Phil K from the United States writes in,

Wikipedia/Allie_Caulfield triceratops

In today’s (8/2/2016) reprinted article originally published 22 January 2013, Dr Carl Wieland replied in the Comments section that the Creation Research Society had in possession a chunk of soft tissue from a Triceratops that was going to be tested for Protein, DNA, and C14.

I searched the CMI website for “Triceratops” and can’t find the results of those tests. I am very curious what the results of those tests were. Do you have them?

CMI’s Joel Tay responds:

Dear Phil K,

I would assume that you are referring to Dr Wieland’s comments on this page. The Triceratops soft tissue Dr. Carl Wieland referred to in the comments section here was probably a reference to part of the iDINO project carried out by the Creation Research Society.

Layers of soft and stretchable tissue were discovered in the brow horn of a Triceratops.1 When examined under a scanning electron microscope, bone osteocytes cells were seen together with extraordinary structural preservation of the cell. This even included the preservation of thin protein extensions from the cell membranes called filipodia. These filipodia measured less than 300 nm in diameter and were seen branching into the underlying bone matrix.2

Some skeptics in the past have tried to dismiss claims of soft tissue as mere biofilms left behind by bacteria. The iDINO project special report refutes the skeptics by demonstrating under a scanning electron microscope, that what we are seeing are not merely biofilms, but highly structured soft tissue in dinosaur bone. This argues strongly against the idea that the fossil is 65 million years old as many evolutionists claim.

More recently, Brian Thomas and Vance Nelson carbon dated a number of dinosaur fossils including two specimens from Triceratops horridus.3 The two specimens gave a date in years of 33,570±20 and 41,010±220.4

In the same issue of the iDINO project special report, Brian Thomas published a paper on original biomaterial in fossils, where he discusses the discovery of protein (e.g. collagen) and DNA in fossils from different strata. He also discusses mechanisms of preservation that skeptics have appealed to when trying to explain why biomaterial is found in these supposedly ancient fossils.5 The paper also mentions that the half-life (at 13.1°C) of moa mitochondrial DNA is reported in the literature as 521 years­­ (a figure the author considers unrealistically large). Yet this only serves to compound the problem for evolution since DNA, red blood cells, bone proteins, etc. should not be present in ancient fossils if they were really that old.

The idea that soft tissue can exist for 65 million years is highly problematic for evolution since we would expect soft tissue to have completely degraded in a far shorter period of time. Soft tissue preservation in dinosaurs fits very nicely with the Biblical understanding that dinosaur fossils are evidence of rapid burial by the global flood a few thousand years ago.

I hope that helps,

Joel Tay

References and notes

  1. Anderson, Kevin., Echoes of the Jurassic, CRS Books, Chino Valley, p.21–26, 2016. Return to text.
  2. For further reading, please refer to either Anderson, Kevin, Echos of the Jurassic, CRS Books, Chino Valley, 2016; and The iDINO Project Special Report, CRSQ 51:229–313. Return to text.
  3. Thomas, B. and Nelson, V., Radiocarbon in Dinosaur and Other Fossils, CRSQ 51:299–311, ‎‎2015‎. Return to text.
  4. A sample purporting to be from the Flood era would not be expected to give a ‘radiocarbon age’ of about 5,000 years, but rather 20,000–50,000 years. Indeed, that is consistently what one obtains from specimens of oil, gas and fossil wood from layers allegedly ‘millions of years’ old. The reason is: radiocarbon dating assumes that the current 14C/12C ratio of about 1 in a trillion (after adjusting for the Industrial Revolution) was the starting ratio for the objects dated. But this ratio would have been much smaller before the Flood due to the fact that the earth had a much stronger magnetic field. Because pre-and para-Flood objects would have started with a much lower initial 14C/12C ratio, the measured amount today would also be smaller, and be (mis-)interpreted as much older. See What about carbon dating? Chapter 4, The Creation Answers Book. Return to text.
  5. Thomas, B., Original Biomaterial in Fossils. CRSQ 51:232–247, 2015‎. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Jonathon G.
Why should a DNA analysis of 500+ years be rejected? The Moa, a flightless bird of New Zealand was almost surely present in NZ well before then and is understood to have been extincted through the predatory actions of the ealry Maoris who arriaround about 1200 AD - well withing C14 dating accuiracy.
I submit that your scientiofic integrity is sersiously at question by the statement doubting the Moa DNA date!
Joel Tay
Isn't science about questioning existing scientific paradigms? Why then would our scientific integrity be ‎questioned just because we hold to the view that the figure of 521 for DNA's half-life is over inflated? Do ‎you even know why we think it is over inflated? The figure of 521 years was calibrated according to ‎carbon dates. As stated in footnote 4 in this article, we explain that deposits from the global flood ‎consistently produce inflated carbon dates of around 20,000-50,000 years old. Indeed, that is ‎consistently what one obtains from specimens of oil, gas and fossil wood from layers allegedly ‘millions ‎of years’ old. The reason is: radiocarbon dating assumes that the current 14C/12C ratio of about 1 in a ‎trillion was the starting ratio for the objects dated. But this ratio would have been much smaller before ‎the Flood due to the fact that the earth had a much stronger magnetic field (See earth’s magnetic field). ‎Because pre-and para-Flood objects would have started with a much lower initial 14C/12C ratio, the ‎measured amount today would also be smaller, and be (mis-)interpreted as much older. See What about ‎carbon dating? Chapter 4, The Creation Answers Book. Consider, for example, how a lot ‎of "biological" carbon would have been buried under rock layers as a result of the flood (that is what ‎forms the massive coal formations all over the Earth), or how the lots of carbon was also added to the ‎atmosphere (volcanoes) and oceans (the formation of limestone produces gaseous carbon dioxide in a ‎‎1:1 ratio to calcium carbonate). In short, the carbon clock would have been messed up by the flood in ‎complex ways so that the ratio of 14C/12C before the flood could have been very different from the post-‎flood world. If we take the inflated carbon dates into consideration, and also include the effect of natural ‎background radiation, the real half-life of DNA is expected to be significantly shorter than the 521 figure ‎which did not take these factors into consideration. ‎

In any case, it does not make any difference if the half-life of DNA is indeed 521 years. As our article ‎points out, this 521 year figure is still extremely problematic for evolution, since even with this number we ‎should not be able to find dinosaur DNA if they were more than a couple of tens of thousands of years ‎old.

DNA, red blood cells, bone protein, etc. should not be present in ancient fossils if they were really that ‎old (and as required by evolution)—but they are present! ‎

Nico S.
I wonder how anyone could think that two C14 dates with a difference of 22% are not the result of contamination. If these dates were reliable, the difference between them would be much smaller.
Joel Tay
These are two different dinosaur samples.

As explained in the Creation Answers Book here, there are many factors that can affect the Carbon-14 uptake so that we will get a different age depends on a number of different circumstances. We would also expect a much older age for flood deposits and for fossils deposited soon after the flood.

What is significant though, is that Carbon-14's short half-life has a maximum upper limit of 100,000 years, so that any sample containing Carbon-14 (apart from contamination) has to be significantly younger. All 16 fossil samples tested in the paper, 'Radiocarbon in Dinosaur and other fossils' by Brian Thomas and Vance Nelson (CRSQ 2015. 51:299-311) tested positive for Carbon-14. The two Triceratops samples mentioned in this paper are part of that study.

Those who want to insist that these fossils are millions of years old are thus only left with the option of appealing to contamination. But where is the evidence of such contamination? There is none.

Furthermore, all sixteen samples in this study, including the two Triceratops samples mentions in this article have been tested for contamination, so it is not possible to blame the Carbon-14 results on any kind of contamination. Contamination is easily ruled out by comparing with Carbon-13, a stable non-radioactive molecule. Since all 16 samples tested (including the two Triceratops samples here) have already taken into account Carbon-13, the charge of contamination is conclusively refuted.

The presence of Carbon-14 in dinosaur bones remains problematic for those who hold to the idea of millions of years of evolution.
Fred K.
In the comments in References and notes 4, I would appreciate some explanation on how the stronger pre Flood magnetic field would have affected the then 14C/12C ratio (and therefore current derived ages being around 10 times more than the 5000 years or so)?

many thanks
Joel Tay
Hi Fred,

Please refer to Chapter 4 of the Creation Answers Book for a discussion on this.
Refer to page 68-69 on the link below.

I hope that helps.
michael S.

"If you are young then you will have young skin."
Most of the time, youthful skin, lack of wrinkles etc, is the obvious evidence that follows the antecedent, "if you are young".

In the same way it follows thus;

"If dinosaur fossils are young they will show signs of youth, being well preserved".

In this regard, nobody would regard King Tut as 600 billion years old, nor would we consider a recently deceased person to be 300 years old. So then the law of non-contradiction must be observed, IMHO. That is to say, something cannot be both old AND young. Evidence for age, is age, and evidence for youth, is youth.

We also have to consider the fallacy-of-exclusion. If one of the dinosaurs found in a certain layer of a certain age, is found to have youth then it logically follows that ALL of the dinosaurs in that layer must be the same age.

So then if one dinosaur MUST be young, since the layers have solidified and were laid down at the same time-period, then all of the fossils WITHOUT young tissue found in them, MUST also be the same age as the young one, for either both the specimen with the young tissue and the one without are both young, or both old or both neither but one cannot be young while the other old for that would be like saying that twins born together are older than each other by many years.
Kobus D.
Unfortunately, as it is with all these discoveries, it makes no difference in the mind of an Athiest.

There is, as CMI have always stated, no golden argument that will win them over and here's why:
"And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they WILLINGLY are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:" Emphasis mine.
2 Peter 3:4‭-‬6 KJV
Steve W.
A thought I have had in the past, not dissimilar to Terry's observation, is that with all the geologic activity that would have taken place over 65 million years or longer, I do not believe for one moment that all those exquisitely preserved fossils of many kinds would have survived intact.
gabriel S.
hi, you refer to a previous article regarding the censored conference results [2012] - if the so-called international scientific community will, (and why should they not) also ignore these results, it will be true to form and God's word comes to mind [Rom 1:18] "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;"; so much for being 'right'.
in Christ
Richard A.
When I read these reports about soft dinosaur tissue, carbon 14 dating of allegedly deep time specimens, or this specific, and might I add spectacular example of both, I wonder why this/these is/are not more widely known. Especially when it comes to dinosaurs. The idea of the them being contemporary with man in a recent past is one of the most lambasted positions we hold, and here is as close to "proof positive" as I can imagine of that truth. What's more, the evidence does not seem all that difficult to understand (which I, being a lay person can relate to). Even though I am committed to Biblical Authority, I find these reports encouraging and would like to see them more actively advanced.
Terry D P.
How long should fossilised bones last?
I don't think they should last 65 millions years either.

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