Have Scientists Explained Soft Tissue on Dinosaur Fossils?

Within the Creation and Evolution debate, anything that is strong evidence for a young earth is a matter evolutionists take seriously – in short, they are driven to find a way to explain it away. In recent years, one of the strong evidences has been the finding of soft tissues still preserved on dinosaur fossils. Scientists have been at a loss to answer how tissue could survive for 60 million years (the age which they claim dinosaurs disappeared from history). Recently, Mary Schweitzer has suggested that iron could act as a preservative on soft tissues as described in this article: Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained

Soft Tissue on Dinosaurs by ICR

Soft Tissue on Dinosaurs by ICR

The process of fossilization turns organic matter into stone, or more technically, replaces the organic matter with minerals. It shows that the organic matter was preserved from decay long enough for the minerals to replace it … a process that can happen very quickly under the right conditions. This can occur in both plants and animals. Even in the case of mummification, what is preserved is no longer soft tissue. In fact, it has long been thought that the proteins that make up soft tissue cannot last more than 1 million years. Most often, microbes destroy it within weeks.

Recent years have had multiple dinosaur fossils with soft tissue still connected to them. A couple of examples are the soft tissues complete with bone cells found by Mark Armitage on a Triceritops horn. and Also the discovery of proteins, cells, and blood vessels on a Bracyhlophosaurus, a duck-billed dinosaur.

Dinosaur Soft Tissue Picture

Dinosaur Soft Tissue
from www.smithosonianmag.com

It was actually Mary Schweitzer herself that discovered the first soft-tissue on dinosaur fossils when she found well preserved bone cells, flexible blood vessels and red blood cells, and soft stretchy ligaments. This was discovered on the leg bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil supposedly 80 million years old. She has been working to figure out how this remarkable preservation could have occurred. Her answer is ‘iron’. She suggests that after death, the iron in the blood gets into the proteins and cell membranes and makes them “tie in knots” and that “they basically act like formaldehyde”.

Her actual experiment was soaking blood vessels in an iron rich liquid. After two years, the blood vessels were still recognizable. I find this interesting, but even if iron acts somewhat as a preservative, there is a huge difference between 2 years and 60,000,000 years. Her explanation states that:

Dinosaurs’ iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier. The specimens Schweitzer works with, including skin, show evidence of excellent preservation. The bones of these various specimens are articulated, not scattered, suggesting they were buried quickly. They’re also buried in sandstone, which is porous and may wick away bacteria and reactive enzymes that would otherwise degrade the bone. From: http://www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html

As I read a statement like this, many questions come to mind. Do we know that dinosaur blood was (especially) rich in iron? The slippery words of ‘may explain’ and ‘may wick away bacteria’ could undermine the entire idea and does not sound like a solid explanation at all. Furthermore, describing something as well preserved because of quick burial makes me think of expected flood conditions.

From a creationist perspective, the answer is simple. Soft tissue still exists on dinosaur fossils because they formed only thousands of years ago rather than millions.

As a side note: it seems likely that a few dinosaurs still exist today: but that is in the topic of cryptozoology (the study of hidden animals) and involves creatures like the Loch Ness Monster, the Ropen, and similar creatures … that topic must wait for another day.

XXXH. Last Updated: 06/01/2016
Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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