Ever since Mary Schweitzer identified red blood cells and blood vessels inside fossilized dinosaur bone in 2005, debate has raged. Could protein and cellular structures survive for millions of years? Schweitzer unveiled her latest discoveries at the 72nd annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Schweitzer and colleagues have continued to press the case for the authenticity of preserved dinosaur soft tissue. Newly published data presented at the conference demonstrates that four kinds of protein molecules like those found in modern bone cells remain in fossils of two dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachylophosaurus canadensis.
The four proteins—actin, tubulin, PHEX, and histone H4—are found in modern eukaryotes but not in bacteria. Histone H4 is a DNA binding protein, and although no DNA was sequenced, additional stains confirmed the presence of some DNA. PHEX protein is found in the osteocytes (mature bone cells) of many kinds of organisms.1 Human, rodent, and avian PHEX proteins have a high degree of homology, their amino acid sequences being very similar.2
Some evolutionists have insisted the purported protein-containing structures in Schweitzer’s specimens must be bacterial biofilm—a microbial slime. Biofilm proponents believe bacterial slime in old blood vessels just looks like vessels and blood cells. Even a springy texture could, they say, be produced by such “biofilm morphs.”3 Regarding these allegations, Schweitzer, showing a blank slide, said, “Here’s the data in support of a biofilm origin. We haven’t found any yet.”4
Osteocytes are encased in minerals even in living organisms. After demineralization of the fibrous collagen matrix, Schweitzer’s team used monoclonal antibodies to identify the proteins. Thus tagged, the proteins outlined star-shaped osteocytes. These results rule out “biofilm morphs” and demonstrate that cellular proteins do remain in some dinosaur fossils.5
Monoclonal antibodies must be designed in the laboratory to match specific targets. The antibody used to detect PHEX is OB7.3. It was developed in the 1980s to target chicken osteocytes.6 For this reason, much of the research performed on bone cells has been done on chickens, and it was not until the 1990s that monoclonal antibodies for mammalian osteocytes were developed.7 OB7.3 targets part of the PHEX molecule.8 And unlike the comparable mammalian antibody, OB7.3 only targets PHEX in osteocytes, not in their precursor osteoblasts.9
Schweitzer’s team used the osteocyte-specific monoclonal antibody, OB7.3, to confirm these osteocytes were really osteocytes. OB7.3 tagged PHEX in the osteocytes of ostrich bones as well as in the two dinosaurs tested, though not in alligator bone. “The PHEX finding is important because it helps to rule out sample contamination,” Schweitzer says. “Some of the antibodies that we used will react to proteins found in other vertebrate cells, but none of the antibodies react to microbes, which supports our theory that these structures are surviving osteocytes.”
Schweitzer believes additional support for the genuineness of these dinosaur proteins comes from the hypothesis that dinosaurs are “closely related to birds.”10 However, homologous proteins are only an example of common design by a common Designer, not proof of ancestry. The same can be said of many proteins that appear in homologous forms throughout the biological world. Cross-reactivity of OB7.3 with dinosaur PHEX does not demonstrate that dinosaurs evolved into birds.
The survival of protein molecules and even cellular structure in dinosaur fossils is now authenticated. The question remains, how long can such biomolecules last? It is impossible to experimentally test for millions of years of survival. Dates claiming millions of year ages for these fossils are based on unverifiable assumptions, not experimentally demonstrable proof.
These photos (see above) are showing us bone cells and DNA from dinosaurs buried around 4,300 years ago during the global Flood. We see that God, the common Designer of all creatures, naturally used the same proteins to construct the microstructure of dinosaur cells as He used for other creatures. For that reason, monoclonal antibodies developed today can detect these proteins in these ghostly osteocytes of extinct dinosaurs.
- #3 Soft Tissue in Fossils
- Two: Those Not-So-Dry Bones
- Collagen Coils (Collagen coils)
- DNA Decay Rate Evaluated (DNA half-life)
- More Soft Tissue in “Old” Fossils
- Persistent Protein (Persistent protein)
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