We first reported on the “mummy,” named Dakota, back in March of last year. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that not only the bones, but also soft tissues such as skin, were fossilized. (This is different from the preservation of unfossilized soft tissue inside dinosaur bones, which we reported on most recently in May.)
Even some organic material—specifically, amino acids—remain, intermixed with the sedimentary minerals.
Scientists have now released a paper on Dakota, a hadrosaur, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, where they describe how sediments formed a “mineral cast” that allowed for such remarkable preservation, with even individual cell-like structures retained. Even some organic material—specifically, amino acids—remain, intermixed with the sedimentary minerals.
BBC News explains how the scientists believe the creature was preserved so completely:
They believe that the dinosaur fell into a watery grave, with little oxygen present to speed along the decay process. Meanwhile, very fine sediments reacted with the soft tissues of the animal, forming a kind of cement.
That explanation, of course, is most consistent with catastrophic flooding. Yale University paleontologist Derek Briggs (who, by the way, was one of the paleontologists who visited the Creation Museum several days ago—see item 1) believes the amazing preservation may not be so rare, either: “One can’t be certain, but I suspect that in many cases these kinds of skin impressions have gone unnoticed and people have gone after the skeleton, which is of course what you’d expect to be preserved. This kind of discovery just demonstrates very clearly that soft tissue does survive, that the processes involved are unusual but not absolutely extraordinary—so there’s no reason why this kind of material won't be discovered again.” Dakota is yet another reminder of God’s judgment by water, the result of which was a fossil graveyard that covers the world.
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