Attorneys for a scientist named Mark Armitage, a former employee of the California, USA, State University, Northridge, who was terminated from his job after discovering soft tissue on a Triceratops fossil, have filed a lawsuit against the university. While at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, researcher Mark Armitage discovered what he reported to be the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute. Upon examination of the horn under a high-powered microscope, Dacus says that Armitage was “fascinated” to find soft tissue on the sample – a discovery Bacus said stunned members of the school’s biology department “because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.”
Armitage reported that, upon examining the Triceratops horn, some sheets of soft tissue were seen to have multiple layers of intact tissues with osteocyte-like structures that were delicate and showed no evidence of any permineralization or crystallization and therefore were interpreted as “soft.” (An osteocyte is a bone-forming cell that exists within the hard part of bone.) This is the first report of soft tissues from Triceratops horn bearing layers of osteocytes, and extends the range and type of dinosaur specimens known to contain non-fossilized material in bone.
What does this mean for science? This case is being widely reported by many anti-Darwinists as evidence that dinosaurs walked the earth only a few thousand years ago, rather than the millions of years generally quoted by scientists. The advocates of Dynamic Evolution will not be riding the roller-coaster of anti-Darwinian rhetoric. As the book Dynamic Evolution states, it is a work of science, not of speculation. However, there are one or two things to note. The existence of soft tissue on a skeleton usually reported to be millions of years old, ought to be of great interest to genuine scientists all over the world. If it turns out to be true that Mark Armitage was expelled unlawfully from his position at the California State University, then questions must be asked regarding the underlying motives of the university. One report quotes a university official as saying to Armitage: “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!” This is an apparent reference to Armitage’s position as a Creationist. (See ‘Is It Time to Abandon Darwin?‘) But facts that are scientifically verified cannot be so easily dismissed. A find as spectacular as this should be keenly examined by as many experts as are willing and able to be involved.
This is not the first report of soft tissue on dinosaur fossilized remains. In 2005, research was conducted by Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University, who found soft tissue preserved inside the leg of a young T-rex unearthed in Montana. In 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the T-rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue and were not foreign substances. Schweitzer later published what she described as an explanation to the preservation of the soft tissue: iron. Iron carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. It is also highly reactive with other molecules, and is therefore carefully controlled by body processes. However, after death the iron is free to escape where it forms nanoparticles and free radicals, highly reactive molecules thought to be involved in aging. “The free radicals cause proteins and cell membranes to tie in knots,” Schweitzer said. “They basically act like formaldehyde.” Formaldehyde is used to preserve tissues after death and makes proteins more resistant to decay. Whether this explanation satisfies all scientists remains to be seen. Tests can only prove successful preservation for the extremely short length of the test, a matter of years at most. However, the very poor condition of body tissue preserved by other techniques, such as was used in Egyptian mummies, indicates that a period running into thousands of years would have an extremely destructive effect on body tissue, let alone many millions of years.
Schweitzer’s team tested the iron-as-preservative idea using fresh ostrich blood vessels. They soaked one group of blood vessels in iron-rich liquid made of red blood cells and another group in water. The blood vessels left in water turned into a mess within days. The blood vessels soaked in red blood cells remained recognizable after remaining at room temperature for two years. However, two years is hardly a scientific test for the preservation of tissues allegedly over 60 million years old!
The lack of scientific interest in this amazing find is very sad. And the lack of effort to fit these new facts into their logical place in relation to already established scientific facts is even sadder. It only serves to underscore the accuracy of the explanation given in Dynamic Evolution in the chapter ‘The Mastermind Effect.’ A genuine, objective, scientific search for the truth cannot be burdened with any emotional connection to one theory or another. If the theory does not fit, it should be discarded!