Dinosaur Biochemicals

Brian Thomas, bthomas@icr.org

Thomas, B. 2013. A Review of Original Tissue Fossils and Their Age Implications. In M. Horstemeyer, (editor), Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Creationism, [no page numbers]. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Creation Science Fellowship.

My work at the Institute for Creation Research beginning in 2008 afforded me the latitude to select science news stories that elevate our perspective of Genesis as history. Thus, before too long I had accumulated dozens of technical reports of biochemical remnants original to fossils including dinosaur bones.

Most folks intuit that dinosaur blood vessels and bone proteins seem young, but I wanted more objective evidence. I eventually found biochemical decay rate measurements in archaeology journals instead of in the paleontology journals that published the tissue remnants. By 2011, I felt ready to assemble an empirical case for the Flood’s timing of fossils that formed thousands, not millions of years ago.

My initial ICC draft was horrible. Fortunately, I had Dr. Steve Austin as my ICC area editor. He felt that my table of about 40 original biochemical fossil papers was worth publishing if I could contribute something original to the field. So, I did. The result was this 2013 ICC paper. It summarized much of the vertebrate-specific proteins and nucleic acids that researchers have described in fossils. My report critiqued a preservation-by-clay-minerals hypothesis. I argued that the same water that would have ensconced clay next to lizard skin to supposedly hold the skin in place should instead have facilitated the chemistry that accelerates tissue decay. After 40 million supposed years, the skin should be long gone. But it remains in rock, keratin scales and all.

Today, that 2013 list of 40-odd papers has grown beyond 100. We curate that list in an online document. These additional reports extended the occurrences of original organics to almost every continent. The reports have stacked fossil proteins onto not just a few, but most geologic Systems, including Precambrian strata. A worldwide effect implies a worldwide cause.

In addition to the clay minerals idea, two new preservation hypotheses have emerged since 2013. We summarized them in our 2019 paper, Proteomes of the Past, published in Expert Review of Proteomics. We there concluded that secular attempts to make biomolecular remnants orders of magnitude older than measured decay rates permit all import new problems. The tissue mystery remains unsolved within the demands of secular history.

Experiments and discoveries have overall strengthened our 2013 conclusions. This ICC paper remains a helpful introduction to paleobiochemistry and an encouragement to those willing to see how well Noah’s Flood explains dinosaur and other fossil proteins.

Figure presented at the 2020 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 80th Annual Meeting. Poster title “Cross-Polarization and Second Harmonic Generation Imaging Reveal Bone Collagen Decay Patterns in Four Fossils.” Rainbow colored regions show collagen-generated birefringence under cross-polarized and red-filtered light microscopy in a cross-section of a Permian Eryops megacephalus forelimb. Scale bar 50 microns.


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