Within the last twenty-four hours news stories have appeared which report that scientists have extracted soft tissue from dinosaur fossils, specifically blood cells and collagen. These samples were extracted from fossils that were allegedly 75 million years old. The buzz in these stories is that the samples were taken from specimens that were not well preserved, implying that soft tissue preservation might be more common than previously believed.
That soft tissue has been found in fossils is not a new revelation. Back in 2005 Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist with North Carolina State University, discovered a “fibrous matrix, stretchy like a wet scab on human skin; what appeared to be supple bone cells, their three-dimensional shapes intact; and translucent blood vessels that looked as if they could have come straight from an ostrich at the zoo.”1 This discovery caused a fire storm because according to the known laws of science, they should not have been preserved given their advanced age.
“By all the rules of paleontology, such traces of life should have long since drained from the bones. It’s a matter of faith among scientists that soft tissue can survive at most for a few tens of thousands of years, not the 65 million” years alleged for the age of the dinosaurs.2 According to scientists then, this life-like tissue “had no business inhabiting a fossilized skeleton” because it would be longer lasting than “scientific theory might predict.”3
It is instructive to note how the proponents of an ancient earth reacted. Most evolutionists were skeptical of Schweitzer’s discovery because, as she herself observed, “everyone knows these things don’t last for 65 million years.”4 She even had a hard time getting her findings published in peer reviewed journals. However, when it became impossible to deny the existence of the soft tissue any longer, evolutionists then had to change their view of how long such specimens could last. And they had to, because other research produced soft tissue in 50 % of their samples that supposedly dated back to 145 to 200 million years ago!5
These findings pose an obvious problem for the evolutionist. Known scientific facts show that blood, collagen and other soft tissue samples like those discovered do not and cannot last for the millions of years needed for the evolutionary explanation of these finds. Evolutionists, in an effort to salvage their hypothesis of evolution, have to assume that somehow, contrary to all that is known, such tissue can last through such vast ages. They have resorted to several theories as to how the tissue could be preserved, but those theories are about as convincing as their original objections to the soft tissue preservation itself.
The preservation of soft tissue in fossils poses no problem for the creationist. In fact, these findings fits perfectly with the Biblical description of a world-wide deluge four thousand years ago which produced the vast majority of fossils now known. It is interesting that Schweitzer had trouble getting her findings published, even though she is not a creationist! If she had trouble publishing her findings because they seem to contradict evolutionary theory, then you can imagine the difficulty creationists have in getting their research published and the kind of resistance with which they meet.
Furthermore, the fact that the soft tissue was found in poorly preserved fossils, suggests that the preservation of soft tissue is much more common than would be expected by evolutionary standards. It’s abundance would suggest that highly specialized conditions needed for preservation over vast eons of time are not necessary or likely and more probably, even impossible. It is much more likely that it is a common occurrence because these fossils were formed not so long ago.
Eric L. Padgett
1. Barry Yoeman, Discover Magazine, Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery, April 2006, http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/dinosaur-dna
5. Stephanie Pappas, Livescience.com, Controversial T. Rex Sot Tissue Find Finally Explained, Nov. 26, 2013 http://www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html