CRSQ Abstracts, 2015, Volume 51, Number 4 (Spring)

Original Biomaterials in Fossils

Brian Thomas

Characterizing and understanding original tissue fossils holds great interest because of what these fossils imply about the incongruous timelines that help define biblical creation versus evolution. General expectations suggest, and repeatable lab experiments demonstrate, that biomaterials original to fossilized organisms have a finite shelf life. Tissues in fossils confront evolutionary time. This article reviews generations of research that have exposed and explored original biomaterial fossils, establishing beyond reasonable doubt the reality of endogenous fossil tissues as a genuine feature of Earth layers. It also surveys original biomaterial fossils in geological context and updates both the secular and creation-based research status of this science. We conclude that original biomaterials found throughout the fossil record confirm the biblical timeline of Creation-Flood geology.

Soft Bone Material from a Brow Horn of a Triceratops horridus from Hell Creek Formation, Montana

Mark Armitage

Soft fibrillar bone tissues were discovered within a brow horn of Triceratops horridus collected at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana. Soft material was present in pre- and post-decalcified bone. Horn material yielded numerous small sheets of bone matrix that had yet to turn into hard bone. This matrix possessed visible structures consistent with bone osteocytes. Some sheets of soft tissue had multiple layers of intact osteocyte tissues featuring elegant filipodial interconnections and secondary branching. Both oblate and stellate types of osteocytelike cells were present in sheets of soft tissues. SEM analysis yielded osteocyte cells featuring filipodial extensions of 18 to 20 microns in length. Filipodial extensions were delicate and showed no evidence of any permineralization or crystallization artifact and therefore were interpreted to be soft. This work is the first to report soft tissues from adult Triceratops horn in a Creation journal.

Dinosaur Tissue or Bacterial Biofilms?

Kevin Anderson

Pliable soft tissue containing detailed cellular structures has been detected in numerous dinosaur fossils. Studies have also reported extracting and identifying several animal proteins (e.g., collagen and actin) from this tissue. Since predicted decay rates are not consistent with tissue and biomolecules being preserved for millions of years, these findings challenge the assigned ages of the dinosaur fossils. Different explanations have been offered for how tissue could survive for extended periods of time. One explanation is that this tissue is actually a bacterial biofilm with a replica imprint of dinosaur cells and the biomolecules are of bacterial origin. Bacterial biofilms have even been shown to have a significant role in the fossilization processes. However, biofilms have not been shown to replicate the cellular detail found in dinosaur tissue. Also, amino-acid sequence, antibody affinity, and microspectroscopic analysis reveals significant difference between bacterial proteins and those proteins extracted from the soft tissue. Thus there is no substantial evidence that the pliable material extracted from dinosaur fossils is contaminating biofilm.

Dinosaur Peptide Preservation and Degradation

John M. DeMassa and Edward Boudreaux

Soft tissue recovered from purportedly 68 million years old fossils of Tyrannosaurus rex Brachylophosauraus canadensis have been analyzed, and preservation mechanisms have been suggested by workers. A “preservation motif” based upon structure-function relationships at the molecular level is thought to explain the selective survival of soft tissue and particular peptide sequences. Preservation motifs include molecularly sheltered environments such as collagen fibril domains that offer tight molecular packing thereby conferring resistance to degradation. Sequences enriched with hydrophobic amino acid residues and depleted in acidic residues suggest another preservation pattern. More recent work by the same group adds that Fenton type reactions, arising from trace iron discovered with the bone tissue, is responsible for â€œfixing” the collagen for deep time survival. The present paper reviews these preservation motifs and supportive data in light of fast-degrading amino acids such as asparagine and glutamine, and oxidatively sensitive markers tyrosine, methionine, and histidine that survived the long burial age.

The Hell Creek Formation: The Last Gasp of the Pre-Flood Dinosaurs

Timothy L. Clarey

According to secularists, the top of the Hell Creek Formation records the last of five great extinctions. It has gained further fame as a unit that documents the disappearance of dinosaurs in the Western United States. The so-called Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction is more complicated than many are led to believe, and is probably just the last appearance of many organisms in Flooddeposited strata. The Hell Creek Formation extends across eastern Montana and parts of North and South Dakota, varying from 170 m to 41 m thick. The base of the formation is picked where the composition of the underlying sandstone layer (Fox Hills Formation) changes to carbonaceous sandstone, marking the lowermost bed of the Hell Creek Formation. The top of the unit is more complicated. In the past, changes in the stratigraphy and/or fossils were used to pick the upper boundary, but now secularists choose the Iridium-rich layer as the top, regardless of other geological data. Limited occurrences of an Iridium anomaly make picking this top problematic in many locations. The type section shows ample evidence of water deposition. Marine fossils, including sharks, bivalves, and gastropods, are prevalent throughout the Hell Creek, not just in isolated lenses as many have claimed. Patterns of dinosaur occurrences in the uppermost Hell Creek show less dinosaur fossils toward the top of the formation and a 2–3 m gap at the very top that is devoid of dinosaur fossils. Dinosaur fossils found in the overlying lowermost Paleocene Fort Union Formation, may indicate some dinosaurs survived until the end of the Zuni Megasequence, slightly above the K-Pg. All geological data observed in the Hell Creek Formation are interpreted as occurring during a worldwide Flood event. Stratigraphic data, such as ripples and cross-bedded sandstones, demonstrate water transport. Marine fossils found throughout the formation imply a strong marine influence during deposition of the entire unit. The observed mixing of land and sea organisms is best explained by tsunami-like waves transporting ocean waters onto the continent, engulfing the terrestrial animals and depositing the Hell Creek Formation.

Radiocarbon in Dinosaur and Other Fossils

Brian Thomas and Vance Nelson

Measurable amounts of radiocarbon have been consistently detected within carbonaceous materials across Phanerozoic strata. Under uniformitarian assumptions, these should no longer contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon. Secularists have asserted that these challenging finds originate from systematic contamination, but the hypothesis of endogenous radiocarbon should be considered. Assuming these strata were largely deposited by the Noahic Flood occurring within the time range of radiocarbon’s detectability with modern equipment under uniformitarian assumptions, we hypothesized that fossils from all three erathems, including dinosaur fossils, should also contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon. Consistent with this hypothesis, we report detectable amounts of radiocarbon in all 16 of our samples. Attempts to falsify our hypothesis failed, including a comparison of our data with previously published carbon-dated fossils. We conclude that fossils and other carbonaceous materials found throughout Phanerozoic strata contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon that is most probably endogenous.