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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.

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