Ironing Out the Problems

Perspective

on March 21, 2014

Several years ago scientists made a startling discovery that seemed to undermine the claim that dinosaurs lived over 65 million years ago—soft tissue and pliable blood vessels in a T. rex femur (leg bone). The news put secularists in scramble mode. Prior to that discovery, scientists had believed the proteins making up soft tissue could not last even one million years. Because of their prior commitment to the belief that the dinosaur fossils must be millions of years old, they turned their attention to alternative explanations for the persistence of these biomolecules.

Researchers are banking on iron’s unique properties to save their belief in deep time. They propose that iron, which is plentiful in blood’s hemoglobin, served as a preservative in the T. rex’s soft tissue.* The iron may have helped bind the molecular structures and kept them from degrading. A similar process happens when fresh tissues are preserved in a version of formaldehyde known as formalin. Yet this type of preservation is only temporary. A recent experiment with ostrich tissues showed that the iron in hemoglobin can keep tissue fresh for two years in the laboratory, but it remains a stretch to believe that iron could preserve such tissues for millions of years.

Creationists embrace the obvious conclusion that these T. rex fossils are just a few thousand years old.

Meanwhile, researchers have found a fossil mosquito engorged with blood and dated it to 46 million years old. As with the T. rex soft tissue, rather than questioning the assigned ancient ages requiring the miraculous preservation of blood, researchers claim that this mosquito fossil provides more evidence that organic molecules can survive for millions of years.**

Instead of scrambling to demonstrate how blood and tissue might have been preserved for millions of years, creationists embrace the obvious conclusion, consistent with biblical truth and many empirical studies on the lifespan of biomolecules, that these fossils are just a few thousand years old.***

*http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/27/controversial-t-rex-soft-tissue-find-finally-explained/?intcmp=features

**Dale E. Greenwalt, et al. “Hemoglobin-derived Porphyrins Preserved in a Middle Eocene Blood-engorged Mosquito,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 no. 46 (November 12, 2013): 18496–18500.

*** For an in-depth analysis of soft tissue preservation in the fossil record, see http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Original-Tissue-Fossils-and-Age-Implications.pdf

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.