iDINO - Investigation of Dinosaur Intact Natural Osteo-tissue




Investigation of Dinosaur Intact Natural Osteo-tissue

Members of a CRS iDINO excavation teams search for dinosaur specimens in the Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana.Dinosaurs have long held a unique fascination for people. Speak to a group of elementary age children and you quickly learn that many of them can identify the common names for a number of the larger dinosaurs.  Evolutionists have recognized the value of using this enthusiasm to effectively "indoctrinate" the public about evolution.  Questions, such as how Noah could fit dinosaurs on the ark or why dinosaur fossils are not found mixed with human fossils, are often naively claimed to contradict both biblical and scientific arguments for a recent creation.

The Creation Research Society began its iDINO research initiative with the expressed purpose of addressing questions about dinosaurs from a creationist perspective.  The primary focus of the project is to study soft tissue in dinosaur fossils (and subsequently other 'so-called' ancient fossils).  Numerous studies have documented the presence of pliable, un-fossilized tissue still remaining in dinosaur fossils. Within this tissue are intact cells and fragments of dinosaur proteins.  These dinosaur fossils are typically dated by the standard geologic time scale as at least 65 million years old.

Triceratops brow horn found in the Hell Creek Formation (Glendive, MT).  The horn was nearly 4' in length, making it one of the larger brow horns excavated from the Hell Creek formation.However, the presence of intact tissue presents a significant challenge to the assigned date of these fossils.  Can tissue (aggregates of interconnected cells) retain its natural, flexible characteristics in so-called ancient fossils?  Can cells within this tissue retain their structural integrity and morphology?  Can biomolecules (such as protein and polysaccharides) actually survive 60 million years inside a fossilized and buried bone?  What is the natural process that enables such preservation?  The answer to these questions directly challenges the current, evolutionary biased, standard timescale.1

The first phase of the iDINO project detected pliable, un-fossilized tissue in a brow horn of a Triceratops. Within this tissue were intact and observable osteocytes (compact bone cells). This work provided that first demonstration of intact tissue from a dinosaur horn. Portions of these results were published in a technical microscopy journal2 and also presented at an international microscopy conference.3

Special iDINO issue of the Creation Research Society Quarterly. This issue contains a variety of articles related to the significance of soft-tissue that is still present in dinosaur fossils. Copies of this special issue can be purchased through the Society's bookstore ( or by calling 877-CRS-BOOKThe spring issue of the Creation Research Society Quarterly features a special report of the iDINO project. This report includes a historical perspective of soft-tissue discoveries, an examination of the tissue found in the Triceratops horn, and a rebuttal of claims that the tissue is merely microbial contamination. In addition, the special iDINO report provides a detailed critique of the models offered by evolutionists to explain how this tissue has survived for millions of years.  Also, this issue provides a discussion of how the Genesis flood could account for the distribution of dinosaur fossils in North America, and an analysis of the significance of Carbon-14 still present in dinosaur fossils. This issue of the Quarterly is a 'must read' for anyone interested in the topic. To further spread the critical information about soft-tissue, the Society  developed a video (Echoes of the Jurassic), which will be both visually entertaining and scientifically informative.

A fragment of the excavated Triceratops horn (shown above).  Analysis of fragments, such as this, revealed sheets of soft & pliable tissue.  This tissue contained cells (see below).The second phase of the project (iDINO II) will look more extensively at the process of preservation. While various theories have been proposed of how bone or tissue be preserved, the exact process is still unknown. Evolutionists have sought to propose methods that could account for the preservation of tissue, cells, and proteins for millions of years. iDINO II has been investigating these preservation claims as well as seek a better understanding of the preservation process; providing insight of the plausibility of various proposed preservation mechanisms. Microbial biofilm activity appears to be an integral component of fossilization, although the process is only partially understood. Using a FTIR machine, we have developed a process to mapped out the collagen degradation rate in bovine bone. The next phase of the experiment will be to test the same process using alligator and bird bones. Once we have established a robust rate of degradation of collagen in various animals we will use this data to test various theories of preservation, such as the iron model. For more information contact us at (928)636-1153 or You can also donate online

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis of the tissue reveals detailed cells (osteocytes), which are common bone cells.  The distinct and elaborate cell structures give clear indication of the quality of preservation within a dinosaur fossil that is claimed to be over 65 million years old.

1This timescale is readily (and usually uncritically) accepted by most scientists and even many claiming to be “creationists.”

2Armitage, M.H. and K.L. Anderson. 2013. Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraobital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus. Acta Histochemica 115:603-608.

3Armitage, M.H. and K.L. Anderson. 2014. Light and electron microscope study of soft bone osteocytes from a Triceratops horridus supraorbitalhorn. Microscopy & Microanalysis (Hartford, CT).



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