Soft Tissues in Fossils

Oh come on, Adam. If you seriously think that tiny fragments of collagen, no more than a millimetre in size, that had to be soaked in a demineralising solution for a week, are even remotely similar in their state of preservation to Egyptian mummies, consisting as they do of complete carcasses, you must be completely out of touch with reality.

The operative word here is, once again, measurement. I repeat: measurement. We have no measurements that indicate that collagen can not survive in some form or another for hundreds of millions of years. However, it is measurement that pins down and tightly constrains the ages of the fossils concerned. It is measurement that tells us, over and over again through multiple different techniques, that the K/T boundary is 66 million years old and not four and a half thousand.

I’m sorry, but you’re trying to refute measurement with hand-waving here. The scientific term for that kind of shenanigan is “quackery.”


It’s not logical at all. There is no reason to think that mummies represent the upper threshold of preservation for all features.

That doesn’t require a recent flood nor a global flood.

Based on what evidence?

That can happen at any point in history, and it doesn’t require a global flood.

That’s about as vague as it gets.

Your interpretation of the Bible claims a young age, but it is contradicted by mountains of evidence.


No it doesn’t


sorry but why did you pull that out claiming I wrote it? I did not write that it was contained within a quotation on my post from an external resource?

You guys are claiming that science is honest and yet here we have an example of the complete opposite. I did not write what you quoted above. next time amigo, be honest and at least quote in context as what you did is typical of someone who has no research skills or is intentionally unwilling to provide said research just in case it does not support their claim. (I would say in this case it more likely you have nothing of any importance to contribute)

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Point of order amigo - Klax did not claim you wrote it. Quotes on this forum often show up looking like just part of your post. And to be sure, “intact fragments” is a bit odd.

really and why would that be?

See here’s the thing about Egyptian mummies…we can account for the time period in which they lived very accurately using sources other than humanism and its evolutionary assumptions. We know that any radio dating method must align with the written and oral history concerning them. We can very conclusively say that the science interpretation of age is accurate because of this other written evidence. If you are able to find written historical evidence, surely that would make you feel a whole lot better about the fossil record.

Lets take what Encyclopedia Britnnica has to say about this as an illustration…

The fossil record is incomplete. Of the small proportion of organisms preserved as fossils, only a tiny fraction have been recovered and studied by paleontologists. In some cases the succession of forms over time has been reconstructed in detail. One example is the evolution of the horse. The horse can be traced to an animal the size of a dog having several toes on each foot and teeth appropriate for browsing; this animal, called the dawn horse (genus Hyracotherium ), lived more than 50 million years ago. The most recent form, the modern horse ( Equus ), is much larger in size, is one-toed, and has teeth appropriate for grazing. The transitional forms are well preserved as fossils, as are many other kinds of extinct horses that evolved in different directions and left no living descendants.

I see some very significant statements in the above quotation from Britannica…

Incomplete record
small proportion preserved as fossils
succession of forms has been reconstructed
extinct horses come from dog like creatures and
intentional reconstruction because there are no living descendants of the evolutionary chain (which is obviously mostly hypothesis because its reconstructed)

Christians have a written account that has comprehensively been dated back more than 4000 years. They have a long oral, written, and archeological history with an enormous amount of artifacts that completely support the biblical story. They have the Dead Sea scrolls proving that the Bible hasn’t changed in more than 2000 years (the Isaiah scroll found in the first cave predates the rest by at least 350 years using mainstream science dating methods)…so its almost 2500 years old. They have Codex Sinaiticus…3rd Century AD.

There is lots of very consistent evidence to support the YEC view here…one does not need to attempt to manufacture a dating timeline. You do not need to manufacture an evidence trail of non existent missing animals in the fossil record, there is no need to do any of that. YEC have a sound written history upon which to study the fossil record and make sense of it. The reality is, the YEC studies are remaining consistent with the history of the Bible and that is because they actually have the writings of someone who lived during those times. They have writings from individuals who lived after them, and more after those people and so on all the way down to our current time. The chain of written history is unbroken for thousands of years…we have statements (in the bible) that talk about massive dinosaurs in the book of Job (which Encyclopedia Britannica dates around 600 B.C).

So we have:
the Isaiah scroll proven to be at least 300 B.C. this scroll is almost identical to today’s translations
Dead Sea Scrolls, 2000 years old…almost identical to today’s translations
there is no way modern translations had access to either Sinaiticus, Dead Sea Scrolls or Isaiah scroll during recent history.
Britannica among a huge list of authoritative sources guarentees the gap from Isaiah scroll to the writing of the book of Job is a mere 300 years or less.
The book of Job talks about living Dinasours…or even at a stretch, a very very recent history with them. We know this because the book of job gives a very detailed description of what they looked like and how they behaved.

I think it is, on the balance of probabilities a very reasonable conclusion to make that these very large dinosaurs existed side by side with quite a developed mankind in or around 600 B.C. Even if it was in fact earlier than that, it wasn’t much earlier because these guys don’t appear to have discovered any fossils back then…i am not aware of any writings at least, dating back to that time where men have documented the finding of fossils such that they could write such detail about a couple of the big ones as has been done in the book of Job!

Add this information to the evidence being found in support of soft tissue being found in the T Rex bone, and i have to say, that only adds to my evidence trail. It simply adds more to the balance of probabilities that perhaps the YEC view is correct. People try to throw in curve balls all the time, however, they don’t detract from the consistency of the above information that I’m presenting here. All those curve balls do is provide an avenue of research in order to find out why they might appear to disagree with the evidence we already have from the written record.

My unreserved apologies Adam. No excuse. I am sorry. The words leapt out at me and I didn’t notice that you were quoting.


22 posts were split to a new topic: Job and Dinosaurs

that’s ok…i was being a “bit prickly” and to be honest i shouldn’t have taken issue with it. I should have responded differently.

Also, one of the important things that I’m sure i often forget about discussions is that one very valid part of discussions is the inferences that get made. These inferences, whilst often sarcastic or abusive, or loving, or funny, are a vital part of how we express ourselves. I am the first one to bring out the “well people laugh at Irish jokes” whenever the racism/sexism card is being played…i should have been thick skinned enough to handle this and i wasn’t. Im sorry too.

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Not at all Adam. Being misquoted is a big deal and should always be unequivocally retracted with unconditional apology. It’s either a mistake or malicious or something orthogonal to that line (madness!). I may bowl googlies, but I play a straight bat.


Psalm 104 Is a wonderful example of God’s sustaining power in all creation, including of course those things addressed by science.
I also wonder if Psalm 74:14 might have some inspiration from the fossil whales present in Egypt’s Valley of the Whales, as they may well have been known to the desert travelers.


A vague estimate (based on a few cubic meters) on my part puts the number of just mollusk fossils in the coastal plain and continental shelf of the western Atlantic at well over a trillion. It’s still a small proportion of all those that lived in that area over the last 100 million years. Shallow-water (<200 meters) mollusks have a close-to-optimal rate of preservation as fossils, compared to other groups.

dog-sized, not dog-like.

Why does faunal succession work as a dating tool? Lower layers in geologically stable areas always have less modern-looking faunas that higher ones. Why are stratigraphic ranges definable, let alone geographically consistent?

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Funding for studying evolution is not remarkably generous. The rate of proposal funding by the National Science Foundation is not high. Try searching for job postings in paleontology and see how many you find.

The occurrence of fossilized “soft” tissue has been discussed several times already. In short, there is nothing to support a young-earth view or challenge an old-earth view. "Soft Tissue" in Dinosaur Bones: What Does the Evidence Really Say? - Article - BioLogos

“Soft” tissue fossilization falls into three major categories. One is preservation of traces of tough but flexible organic material - hair or nails or wood would be familiar examples. These aren’t as hard as most minerals, but can be extremely durable. A standard approach to finding pollen, spores, arthropod exoskeleton bits, and the like in rock is to chemically dissolve away the rock (taking extreme precautions in handling hydrofluoric acid) and see what is left after that. So as long as they don’t get digested or oxidized, those can stick around for huge amounts of time. A second category of “soft tissue” preservation is if soft tissue gets replaced by or replicated by mineral in some fashion before it can decay or be destroyed. This can happen quickly in the lab, Once it has been mineralized, then it can last for a long time. Finally, there are instances such as stuff getting stuck in amber or Pleistocene dried out (and sometimes frozen) material where some softer material has lasted some way into the past. But the mummified material is all very young geologically - the so-called dinosaur mummies are impressions in sediment or mineralized replacements from a mummified body, not the actual dried-out muscle of a ground sloth in a desert cave or a frozen mammoth. And amber only preserves traces of bacteria and tougher organic material - the soft stuff does break down. (It also seals in water, which promotes breakdown of the DNA over time - too bad for Jurassic Park.)

Christians should always strive to honor God in our work. It should be of good quality (e.g., I Peter 2:12). Thus, for example, we should be careful to make good arguments. As the admonition about logs in our own eyes points out, we should be especially critical of arguments that seem to support what we want to hear. If you spread bad arguments, you will be viewed as unreliable and your cause will be discredited. (E.g., I Peter 2:20).

Not all old-earth or evolutionary arguments are good, nor is every argument for my particular theological position good. But the scientific data clearly and unambiguously support an old earth, and the primary young-earth approaches of the past 200 years have been to make up arguments without seriously examining the data or to slander old earth approaches, rather than to seriously try to explain the data. As a result, there is no more reason to be optimistic that a young-earth claim will be credible than to expect reliability from a report about a space alien wedding a two-headed Elvis clone. Science is limited by human finitude; there is always the possibility that a better explanation might be found than what is currently accepted. But the only way that a young-earth approach can possibly make progress is for it to be honest and reject all the bad arguments. A good argument must accurately represent the evidence. It must accurately represent the various alternative positions. And it must logically draw conclusions from the evidence.

There are at least three scientifically honest options for a young-earth approach. One could admit that the science, as far as is currently known, does not favor a young earth, while hoping for progress on the topic in the future. Relativity shows that time passes more slowly for an observer moving faster. Thus, from the point of view of someone travelling at nearly the speed of light, the history of the earth could be 6,000 nanoseconds, or 6,000 years, or any length of time up to a little over 4.5 billion. That approach declares that the earth is both old and young. Of course, explaining why Genesis 1 would be written from a viewpoint near the speed of light is problematic, but at least one attempt along that line has been made. The third would be something like Gosse’s Omphalos approach, creation with full appearance of history. That causes significant theological problems, but perhaps something could be worked out.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Job and Dinosaurs

In this post, I am replying to several issues, and adding some of my own:
Adam, like me, you are likely frustrated by many of the posts in this thread. There are some that are helpful in promoting understanding, others that are not at all. I think Dennis Prager’s advice is excellent—seek understanding, not agreement.

adamjedgar, consider this: T_aquaticus et al believe that it is a misrepresentation to say that original unfossilized blood cells, blood vessels, blood vessel valves, soft tissue, osteocytes, and intact nerves have been found in fossils. Apparently, the folks on this forum would find it hard to believe that these could last for 65 million years. Does this mean that if I can show that the literature confirms my statements, BioLogos adherents would agree that this is evidence that the dinosaurs died off considerably less than 65 million years ago? Of course not.

Even though there is credible evidence in the literature, even from evolutionists, that all of these assertions are true, no theistic evolutionist is going to change their mind based on this evidence. We can only hope that we can give better understanding of our position.

For example, take the issue of blood cells in fossils. I first accessed this article on June 9, 2015 when I first heard the objection that it was not blood cells that were found, just blood products. The article is still at: 75-million-year-old dinosaur blood and collagen discovered in fossil fragments | Science | The Guardian.

You will find this interesting. OEC or EC (Evolutionary Creationists as those at BioLogos identify themselves) will find a way to discredit this. But at least I have a basis for asserting this, contra T-aquaticus. And early after Schweitzer’s discovery, the report was that there were blood cells in that dinosaur fossil. Whether that terminology was later changed because it was imprecise or misunderstood, or just that it was inconvenient, we can’t know.

Adam, consider—why are you on this forum arguing for YEC positions. Do you think you will change any minds? Of course not, unless they are “new” to the forum and still searching for the truth. Dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago, and that is that, and no amount of evidence you or I might present will ever change their position.

Consider the following Adam. Suppose you lead an expedition to Novarupta in Alaska which erupted a little more than 100 years ago. You brought back rocks from that eruption, took them to an accredited lab, and they identified these 100 year old rocks as 55 million years old. And your research also shows that there are several other rocks of known recent origin that show the same magnitude of error. So the accuracy of radiometric dating can be tested and falsified. Would that cause OEC folks to consider the accuracy of radiometric dating? Of course not. For one, you are not a geologist, so it will immediately be rejected out of hand. Any evidence from YEC sources is also automatically rejected, justifiably in the BioLogos mindset. Academic authority triumphs over truth. So why trouble yourself to argue the point on this forum? (Based on an actual expedition and a previous BioLogos thread.)

Adam, suppose undeterred you earned a doctorate in geology to meet the BL objections about academic credentials. Then you asked T-Aquaticus to give you a list of everything you need to do to meet his standards of research. Then you go out and research the Coconino limestone layer to assess whether it originated from dry desert sand or was laid down in an aquatic environment. You read all the literature, do extensive field and laboratory research over 40 years, You have met all of T-A’s standards. From your research, you come to the conclusion that using multiple lines of evidence, that the evidence strongly supports that the Coconinio limestone strata was laid down by water, not of desert dune origins. Would that change any minds in the BioLogos forum? Of course not. Although your research is be very valuable to others, it would not be accepted in this forum. (based on Dr. John Whitmore’s research over 40 years. And he received his degree at Loma Linda University, so perhaps he is SDA, which again disqualifies him for some on the BioLogos forum.)

In this forum, I have been asked to provide examples of where otherwise valid research by YEC or other non-evolutionists has not been recognized. That has already been done. See Contemporary suppression of the theistic worldview, which also give multiple references for follow-up. Jerry Bergman et al have written “Slaughter of the Dissidents,” about widespread discrimination by Darwin loyalists against Darwin skeptics in academia. Is accepted as adequate to prove my point? For some on this forum, likely not. So why trouble myself to argue the point ad naseum in this forum? And suppressing skeptics indicates to me that some Darwin loyalists are not confident in their ability to defend their position with reason and evidence.

Dr. James Tour, prominent scientist, synthetic organic chemist and Professor at Rice University, states that young non-evolutionists seeking higher degrees in science will not receive them unless they hide the fact that they don’t believe in evolution. It is manifestly evident that YEC and even non-evolutionists are being cancelled in academic circles regardless of the quality of their research or conclusions, and it is foolish to deny it. Of course, some in the forum may believe that is as it should be. There, I have said it so that BioLogos adherents don’t have to.

Adam, consider Behemoth. If you believe that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, then Behemoth could not be a dinosaur. If you believe that dinosaurs were on the Ark, then of course, Behemoth could be a dinosaur, perhaps a sauropod. So on its own, the Behemoth of Job is inconclusive.

But suppose you pile up the evidence from literature and art and other sources that humans and dinosaurs co-existed in the past, and write a research article on this topic. This is not just an argument over what Behemoth was, which is only one small issue, but a cumulative case argument backed by significant research and evidence using abductive reasoning as an inference to the best explanation. Behemoth would be just one of many evidences in a cumulative case argument. Would this ever be published in a mainstream journal? (And such YEC arguments exist.) Of course not, regardless of its merits. Will they change any EC minds? Probably not. So why trouble yourself to argue the point in this forum? The above scenarios are modeled after actual events.

Now let me be careful to state what I am not inferring from the following scripture passages or what I believe they are warning about. I am not saying that any of these apply to any of the responders on the BioLogos forum. They may or may not apply to some. I have no way of knowing.

Consider the rich man and Lazarus—Luke 16:19-31. Lazarus, the poor man, went to Abraham’s bosom when he died. The rich man went to the torment of Hell. The rich man asked Abraham for Lazarus to be brought from the dead and sent to his still living brothers to warn them so they would not also end up in torment. Abraham refused his request, stating that they already had Moses and the prophets, and even sending someone back from the dead would not be of any value. There was nothing that would be effective in changing the minds of his brothers. That is not uncommon, and certainly common in our increasingly secular society today.

Also consider Romans 1:19-32. Even though people know the truth about creation and are without excuse, they suppress this truth. As a result, God gives them over to shameful lusts and a depraved mind. In our nation’s public arena, we can see the progression of depravity. We think that reason and evidence should be effective in changing minds and hearts. But that is an illusion. Truth and evidence have no effect on a depraved mind. For example, there are many who claim that there is no objective way to know what a woman is; what a woman is is subjective.

BioLogos adherents are a strange breed living between two worldviews. They believe in biological and cosmic evolution. But they avoid the unsolvable problem of why there is something rather than nothing because they are theists. Absolutely the answer for them is God starting everything off as do you and me. So one of their feet is firmly planted in theism. But the other foot is planted on the slippery banana peel of materialism, deep time and evolutionism.

Adam, here is my conclusion. You are not going to change your mind nor am I, and we are not going to change the minds of BioLogos evolutionary creationists, no matter how strong our arguments are. So don’t spend a lot of time trying to do it unless you find value in understanding how others think and argue.

Note: For convenience, we will identify the position that the earth is around 6000 years old as YEC—young earth creationist, and the position that the earth is about 4 billion years old at OEC-old earth creationist. Of course, at 73 years, my 13 grandchildren consider me old, and the earth is approximately 100 times that old, so from my perspective, I actually believe the earth is very old.

I guess I’m kind of amazed there is yet another soft tissue thread on the forums. I personally find this to be a great example of YEC cherry picking certain results that sound like they fit with their viewpoint, but not actually taking the offensive and predicting scientific information before we find it. It’s really boring that YEC essentially always just say oh yeah this new evidence fits well with our viewpoint, but really aren’t going out discovering much of anything at all. When you think about it though, soft tissue and other fossils and carbon dates and amino acid composition and many other things really need don’t support the YEC viewpoint at all, but those things are generally ignored for the soft tissue argument. It’s not good overall, but it’s really difficult to change your mind especially when you believe God said otherwise.


I find these comments helpful:

There are some YEC that take this approach, particularly in geology. But they are not “hoping” to make progress. They are actively researching and believe they are making significant progress.

This one is interesting. Gerald Schroeder takes this approach in “The Science of God.” He is Jewish, an MIT graduate PhD physicist and also finds that this approach is consistent with ancient Jewish commentators.

This is my least favored, but Jesus turning the water into wine would be consistent with this approach. After all, good wine generally requires at least a couple of years, but Jesus made excellent wine in a moment of time.

So your contention is that whatever soft tissue is found in fossils can last 65 million years or more, regardless of what is found? . What could be found un-permineralized that would give you pause for reflection?

I recall standing in front of a video at a Montana’s Museum of the Rockies where Mary Schweitzer stated, “It’s utterly shocking. Soft tissue in dinosaur fossils–nothing in science can allow this to be millions of years old.” That is what the evidence showed at that time. But that evidence has apparently been abandoned. Why? Because there are valid experiments that mimic actual conditions in nature to demonstrate otherwise? Remember, “valid.” And also remember, now that scientist look for soft tissue in dinosaur fossils, nearly half of them have it. So this is not rare.

The soft tissues are dismissed with a hand wave as fragmentary, tiny, less than a milometer in size. That of course means dozens and hundreds and thousand or more cells still intact. That can’t be dismissed so casually.

We all would do well to see some of the evidence that Dr. Mark Armitage has found under the microscope at before we become too dismissive.

You know that is not a scientific article, but an article by a reporter talking about a scientific article. And if you look at the article it talks about you get this in the abstract: “ Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood.” Not exactly a flow of blood.


Here’s one answer for you for starters, Craig. Sequenceable DNA.

If the earth really were six thousand years old, we would have sequenced the entire T-Rex genome by now. Why haven’t we?

Look, Craig, you’re talking here as if it’s just a matter of interpretation as to what the soft tissue remnants consist of. It isn’t. The difference between haemoglobin and heme breakdown products, between intact blood cells and fragments of blood cells, between sequenceable DNA and DNA breakdown products, and so on and so forth, is, as I’ve said, observable, testable and repeatable, even by YEC definitions of “observable, testable and repeatable.”

As @jpm has pointed out, the description of the blood cells in the Guardian article that you have cited does not accurately reflect what was written in the original source paper. This is something that I’ve pointed out already on this thread: popular science journalism does not accurately reflect the state of the soft tissue remnants because accuracy is often sacrificed in order to make the article easier to understand. For this reason, you must go back to the original peer reviewed literature.

The abstract says this:

Exceptionally preserved organic remains are known throughout the vertebrate fossil record, and recently, evidence has emerged that such soft tissue might contain original components. We examined samples from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones using nano-analytical techniques; the bones are not exceptionally preserved and show no external indication of soft tissue. In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains displaying ∼67 nm banding, indicating the possible preservation of the original quaternary structure. Using ToF-SIMS, we identify amino-acid fragments typical of collagen fibrils. Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood. Using advanced material characterization approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals.

Note the phrases that I’ve highlighted:

  • “Structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains” are not original collagen.
  • “Amino-acid fragments typical of collagen fibrils” are not original collagen.
  • “Structures consistent with putative erythrocite remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood” are not intact blood cells.

Yet again, this is another case of you YECs latching onto something that sounds to the layman as if it could have referred to the original unstable biomolecules, but when you go back to the original peer reviewed report, you find that all that was found was the ultimately stable breakdown products of those molecules.

What the folks on this forum find it hard to believe is that you can demonstrate that hundreds of thousands of tightly constrained, rigorously cross-checked measurements made using dozens of different techniques could all be consistently be out by up to six orders of magnitude, in such a way as to all give the same wrong answers as each other, simply on the basis of a handful of corner cases and tiny samples with very poorly defined constraints and a lot of unknowns. You don’t have to be a “secularist” or an “evolutionist” to see this: being wrong simply doesn’t work that way. Not in operational science, not in historical science, and not in any other discipline you could care to mention.