Mar
29
2005

We recently reported on the discovery of a Tyrannosaurus Rex femur bone with preserved fleshy tissue inside. Thanks to Science Magazine we can bring you some close up photos of these unique finds. Some of the photos here are of a modern ostrich. Try comparing the Tyrannosaurus Rex finds with those of a modern bird like the ostrich (pictured below).

Tyrannosaurus Rex Vascular Canals

Tyrannosaurus Rex Blood Vessels

Modern Day Ostrich Blood Vessels

High Magnification View Tyrannosaurus Rex Vascular Canals

All images Copyright Science

The New York Times has a good graphic describing what part of the bone this tissue was taken from.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Brittany21's picture
Brittany21 says:

I wonder if dinosaurs lived with humans.

posted on Tue, 03/29/2005 - 4:30pm
bryan kennedy's picture

This is a good question because it is one of the first things people wonder when they learn about dinosaurs.

Humans and dinosaurs never lived at the same time. The last dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, long before humans evolved. Our most distant "human-like" ancestors (Sahelanthropus tchadensis) probably first walked the earth around 6 to 7 million years ago. Homo sapiens (that's us!) only appeared on the scene about 150,000 years ago.
-----------------------------
bryan kennedy
Science Buzz Site Admin

posted on Tue, 03/29/2005 - 5:31pm
Dr. Scherer's picture
Dr. Scherer says:

Says who, "Soft tissue and any carbon based soft tissue should not be found IF it were 65 million years old"? Dinosaurs are nothing more than very large lizard-like animals that are extinct, like many animals becoming extinct every year. They were big--so are Komodo dragons, crocodiles, and alligators. The biggest thing that ever lived is still living today: the Blue Whale, which is possibly on the list of endangered species due to whaling companies killing many back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Why is it so hard to believe that man walked the Earth the same time other large creatures walked as well?

posted on Tue, 04/26/2005 - 8:29pm
Andy's picture
Andy says:

I'm not sure I understand your question. You are right, humans and hominids undoubtedly shared (and share) the earth with large animals (for example, giant Ground Sloths and Imperial Mammoths) but the fossil record tells us that humans and dinosaurs are separated by approximately 60 million years.

This fossil record is built by examining the fossils from the sedimentary layers exposed on the earth, the older layers lying below the younger layers. Very occasionally, volcanic dust or layers of volcanic rock interfingers with these sedimentary rocks, and the volcanic rocks can be radiometrically dated in a laboratory (giving an approximate number for an age). This is why scientists say this or that species lived a certain number of years ago. Paleontologists and geologists have been piecing the fossil record together for almost 200 years. They have looked at sedimentary rocks deposited in ancient oceans and on land from all over the earth. So far, they have never found any human fossils and dinosaurs in the same rock layers. What all paleontologists and geologists generally agree on is the geologic timetable and history of life you often see in science textbooks.

posted on Wed, 04/27/2005 - 12:28pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that's what the bible says

posted on Sun, 07/17/2005 - 3:51pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible. Job 40 does mention a "behemoth;" the poetic language describing it has been interpreted in various ways.

The Bible is a book of faith. Faith and science are two very different ways of looking at the world. Faith relies on received wisdom -- often holy books passed down over many generations. Science relies on observation and experiment. Written words are not counted as evidence.

We cannot say that one approach is "better" than the other, or that one is "right" while the other is "wrong." In fact, both are quite valuable in very different ways. Religious faith is a powerful means of understanding our inner life -- our spirituality, emotions and psychology. Science has proven itself to be very good at explaining our outer life -- the physical world.

Many people use both approaches as they navigate their inner and outer lives. But in a scientific discussion, we have to stick to scientific evidence.

posted on Sun, 07/17/2005 - 11:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

let's keep religion and science seperate, please.

posted on Tue, 01/03/2006 - 11:46pm
keith's picture
keith says:

That is a good question. In my past reading i've discovered that many ancient civilizations contain accounts of "dinausour" type creatures. So i think they did.

posted on Mon, 10/24/2005 - 9:08pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

That is true. But many cultures and civilizations also contain accounts of rain gods and the like. We now know what causes rain, and realize that it is an entirely natural phenomenon -- no supernatural forces are at work.

We also know enough about how atoms work to reliably date many rocks. These tell us that the youngest dinosaur fossils are 65 million years old, and the oldest fully human fossils are less than one million years old. So there was no overlap.

Cultures with dragon legends (China, England, etc.) tend to be places with lots of dinosaur fossils. Those ancient rocks probably gave rise to the much more recent legends.

posted on Tue, 10/25/2005 - 9:11am
Nate Cook's picture
Nate Cook says:

That's really fascinating. Will scientists be able to use these blood vessels to further understand the relationship between dinosaurs and today's birds? i.e., are the T-Rex's blood vessels closer to the ostrich than to a mammal or a reptile?

posted on Tue, 03/29/2005 - 3:41pm
Kristi Curry Rogers's picture
Kristi Curry Rogers says:

Hey Nate,
As many out there probably already know, most paleontologists think that birds really are a specialized group of meat-eating (theropod) dinosaurs - dinosaurs with feathers, that is! So, your question about whether these preserved soft tissues will help us get an even better understanding of this relationship is great! The interesting thing emerging from the preservation of these branching, vascular structures in T. rex, is that they do bear a similarity to the vessels in both birds (like the ostrich blood vessels figured in the paper and on this website), as well as the branching blood vessels of fast-growing mammals. This helps us interpret how fast dinosaurs were growing, and in time, may help us get to the bottom of their mysterious metabolic strategies!

Kristi Curry Rogers, Ph. D.
Curator of Paleontology
Science Museum of Minnesota

posted on Wed, 03/30/2005 - 5:06pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Hey, Nate.

Scientists announced on 6/2 through the journal Science that analysis of the T. rex's soft tissue strongly suggests that the dinosaur was a female, and that it was about to lay eggs when it died.

How do they know? They found tissue very similar to a kind made inside the bones of female birds when they are producing the shells of eggs, just before they lay them.

Female birds produce a softer, calcium-rich layer of bone (called medullary bone) when they are laying eggs. This tissue is a reservoir of calcium for eggshells. After the last egg is laid, the tissue is completely reabsorbed into the bird's body. (Crocodiles, on the other hand, hold eggs in their reproductive tract and shell them all at once. They don't produce medullary bone.)

Scientist Mary Higby Schweitzer, of North Carolina State University, says,

"In addition to demonstrating gender, it also links the reproductive physiology of dinosaurs to birds very closely. It indicates that dinosaurs produced and shelled their eggs much more like modern birds than like modern crocodiles....It was a stroke of luck to find an animal at just the right stage to be making medullary bone."

Schweitzer also says that the presence of medullary bone indicates that the reproductive physiologies of some dinosaurs might have been similar to those of modern birds, particularly flightless ones like ostriches and emus.

This tissue, of course, proves that the T. rex was a female. The absence of such tissue proves nothing, gender-wise, since the bone tissue of non-egg-laying females would look just like that of males.

posted on Sat, 06/04/2005 - 1:51pm
Velociraptor's picture
Velociraptor says:

that looks cool

posted on Tue, 04/05/2005 - 8:26pm
Velociraptor's picture
Velociraptor says:

I hope they don't use the cells to make T. rex'es alive again. P.S.WRITEANOTEONTHISHOWEVERSEESIT!{If you can read this you are smart.

posted on Tue, 04/05/2005 - 8:43pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Scientists will surely try to recover proteins from the T. rex bones and analyze them. Comparing protein sequences is one way to figure out relationships between animals, both other prehistoric creatures and modern ones. But DNA itself is less stable than the proteins it codes for. Even in much younger specimens, recovered DNA is usually broken into fragments.

In the movie Jurassic Park, the scientists used frog DNA as "filler" to fix the broken-up DNA. This wouldn't be possible in the real world. And even if you could somehow recreate the entire dinosaur genome, you would need a living dinosaur egg cell to put the DNA into to create a clone.

We can clone a sheep right now because we have sheep egg cells, and living sheep to carry a cloned embryo to term. But paleontologists don't have dinosaur egg cells, or dinosaur surrogate mothers.

Incidentally, a few scientists think they might be able to find intact mammoth DNA (a little bit more likely) and raise the embryo in an elephant.

posted on Wed, 04/06/2005 - 12:11pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Kristi Curry Rogers, the museum's lead paleontologist, filled me in on this one as well. Recreating a T. rex from this material isn't possible. We don't really know if the DNA that we get from the bone is even T. rex DNA. It has been sitting in the ground for a long time (at least 65 million years!) and could be contaminated by another DNA source.
-----------------------------
bryan kennedy
Science Buzz Site Admin

posted on Wed, 04/06/2005 - 5:14pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night... and I'm no scientist (what exactly MAKES a "scientist" anyway?), but the last I checked, meat, even in a vaccuum, couldn't last 60 million years without decaying to the point as to be unrecognizable....... but then, I don't know how long it COULD last...

posted on Tue, 10/18/2005 - 4:45pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

A scientist is one who develops tstable, evidence-based explanations for the natural world. The natrual world have given us this remarkable fossil. Scientists are now trying to understand how nature could do this, when we would not have expected it to.

Tissue preserved in amber dates back as much as 120 million years. Thus, it is possible that other circumstances may also preserve tissue for a very long time. We don't know exactly what those conditions were in this case, or how they worked. We now need to find a natural explanation for them.

Second, don't confuse "tissue" with "meat." We are not dealing with T. rex T-bones here! From what I understand, it's tiny bits of tough, stringy material hidden deep within the bone.

posted on Tue, 10/25/2005 - 10:38am
Clint's picture
Clint says:

What I find MOST amazing is that for every EXPERT in the world who says one thing, another disputes it. If one takes for example many or most of the theories concerning space for example, virtually ALL of the theories have changed drastically or altogether over just the last 25 years alone, let alone the last 50 or 100.

Obviously, we can ONLY comprehend what we have credible evidence for and the MEANS by which this evidence is or can be evaluated.

As far a scientists go, most have a rather pompous view in speaking of speculative or 'limited' information or theories as FACT. Unfortunately, THAT limits their crediblity INSTANTLY!!

posted on Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:46pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Yes! That's exactly how science works! We observe something in the real world; now, how do we explain it? One person has one idea; another person has another idea. So we come up with a test -- an experiment. If it turns out one way, then that is evidence for one view. If it turns out another way, that's evidence for a different view.

And then the cycle starts over again: the experiment itself is now part of the physical, natural world, and now it needs to be explained -- perhaps through more testing.

In this way, science slowly creates a more and more complete picture of the world.

(P.S.: I've known lots of scientists. Had drinks with many; played softball with more than a few. Most of them are alright guys -- and gals.)

posted on Tue, 10/25/2005 - 9:16am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Of all of the articles that have been published on this find none, of which i've read, even question the presupposion of evolution,which is a faith-based theory. Science, the repeatable and demonstratable,tells us that tissue cannot last 65 million years, period.

After recently attending a Creation vs. Evolution debate I've come out with the distinct impression that this discovery is not the first that supports the Creation model. Let's face it, while science deals with empirical facts, both evolution and creation deal with faith or theory. NeoDarwinists interprite the facts just as Creationist or Intelligent Designers do. This said which does the discovery of Tyrannosaurus Rex flesh most support?

People are not stupid, so who ever responds to this post please talk straight forward, do not use smoke and mirrors. Thanks.

posted on Mon, 10/24/2005 - 9:05pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I would like to know a little more about how you are using the word "faith." I've never heard evolution refered to as "a faith-based theory" before.

I have my American Heritage Dictionary open (Second College Edition, 1985). The defintion of "faith" that most closely fits this discussion is: "belief that does not rest on on logical proof or material evidence." Evolution is based entirely on material evidence, and the logical proofs that come from that evidence, and which explain that evidence.

Second, you seem to be equating "faith" with "theory." As noted, "faith" means belief that does not rest on evidence. "Theory," however, rests entiely on evidence -- a theory is an explanation for the observed evidence. One tests a theory by gathering more evidence. If the evidence fits the theory, the theory grows stronger. If the evidence does not fit the theory, the theory needs to be revised. Over the last 146 years, the evidence in favor of evolution has mounted and is now overwhelming. There have been some revisions on exactly how it works, but the central explanation of "descent with modification" has immense amounts of evidence to support it.

So yes, evolutionary scientists interpret the facts and try to explain them. But, scientific explanations can only rest on the facts themselves. They cannot invoke supernatural causes. Creationism and ID do rely on supernatural causes which cannot be proven or disproven by evidence. Thus, they are not theory, and they are not science. They are faith. Which is a beautiful, powerful and imporant thing. But it is not science.

Finally, scientists don't like to use the word "period." Nothing is ever final in science. There is always a new experiment, a new piece of evidence, that could force us to revise our thinking. For example, prior to 1905, everthing we knew about physics told us that matter and energy were two different things. Then this Einstein fellow comes along and shows that they are in fact interchangeable. That doesn't mean earlier scientists were wrong; just that they didn't have the complete picture. (And in the last 100 years, new experiments have added things that Einstein didn't know.) Same thing here: prior to this discovery, everything we knew would have indicated that tissue could not survive in the ground for 65 million years (though certainly it survives in amber and other conditions). But here's evidence to the contrary. We now need to explain this evidence. Scientific explanations -- theories -- will be entirely based on facts and evidence, and thus can be tested. Non-scientific explanations, like creationism and ID, will ultimately rest on faith in causes that cannot be tested.

So, once we get our language straight, the smoke and mirrors disappear. Science = testable explanations of evidence. Non-science = non-testable explanations.

posted on Tue, 10/25/2005 - 10:28am
Carl's picture
Carl says:

I believe it is not called "Non-science" when it is a "non-testable explanation." In physics there is currently a debate about something called "string theory." This theory involves I believe it is 11 dimensions. It can be represented Mathematically, but because the majority of these dimensions are smaller than subatomic particles the theory cannot be tested. (Those familiar with Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle will understand why.) Anyway, it is theoretical science, but science none the less. Unlike those that can be tested using the scientific method to give it validity in the eyes of science, "non-testable explanations" will remain forever in the theory phase of the method until a time occurs in which it is possible to test.

Thanks,
Carl

Did you hear about the time that Heisenberg got pulled over by a cop.
The police officer walked up to the door and said, "Sir, do you know how fast you were going?"
Heisenberg responded, "No, but I know where I was."

posted on Thu, 01/05/2006 - 3:23am
bryan kennedy's picture

There are several points that you make that I must correct.

Evolution is not a faith-based belief system. It is a scientific theory based in observation and experimentation. Evolution has been supported many, many times by observations and experimentation.

Faith-based belief systems cannot and should not be evaluated by the scientific method. That's the beauty of faith. No matter how much evidence to the contrary, if I believe that a divine being created existence, then I should believe that. Creationism is a faith-based belief system and is not science. This discovery is not evidence supporting creationism. It does provide some more evidence of an evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs. It also tells us more about the taphonomy of dinosaur bones. (Taphonomy is the study of how fossils and other materials are preserved in geologic strata.) If these scientific findings conflict with faith-based beliefs, please consider that a Science Museum is not the place for challenging that process, just as much as a place of worship is not the place for science to challenge religious beliefs.

posted on Thu, 10/27/2005 - 2:28pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I respectfully quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams:

"'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'

'But,' says Man, 'the Babel fish [or you can insert the organism of your choice here] is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'

'Oh dear,' says God, 'I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic."

Of course, things don't work out so nicely for Man, either, as the story goes on to explain:

"'Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed at the next zebra crossing [that's a crosswalk, to Americans]."

The point is, science is all about proof, and religion is all about faith. And also you should be careful when crossing the street.

posted on Thu, 10/27/2005 - 3:43pm
Jeffrey Graw's picture
Jeffrey Graw says:

To some extent, yes, I think evolution has become a faith based theory.

For example, tell any geologist that the earth is flat, or any physicist that you don't beleive in gravity, and they will probably just look at you funny.

On the other hand, tell any evolutionist that you beleive in Intelligent design and watch them fly off the handle! :)

posted on Sun, 10/30/2005 - 4:36pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Well...

The roundness of the Earth is NOT a theory. And even if you believe that the Earth is flat, you still won't fall off the edge.

Gravity, on the other hand, is a theory on par with evolution. And whether or not you believe in the theory of gravity, you'll still fall if you jump off a skyscraper.

What aggravates so-called "evolutionists" is the misuse of the work "theory" in a scientific sense.

posted on Sun, 10/30/2005 - 9:42pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I have to say, I've known a lot of evolutionary biologists, and I've never seen one fly off the handle. Roll their eyes, yes. Sigh deeply, sure. But fly off the handle? Not that I've seen.

They do get a bit frustrated hearing the same old arguments over and over again, all of them debunked, many of them based on misunderstandings. We are repeatedly asked to justify basic principles that were established over 100 years ago. It gets tiring after a while.

Another key difference is that nobody is seriously suggesting that schools give "equal time" to flat-Earth or anti-gravity theories. Yet there are serious attempts to force schools to present non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. This would be bad news for American students, who are already lagging many other countries in science education. As Theo Dobzhansky wrote, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

posted on Sun, 10/30/2005 - 10:46pm
Lisa Butler's picture
Lisa Butler says:

I find it astounding that this tyrannosaurus bone tissue only proves a link between birds and dinosaurs. How can you not rethink the theory (BASED on fact) that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. First a fossilized bone was found in a boot (http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/fossilboot.html) and now fleshy tissue was found from an animal that supposedly lived millions of years ago. Not to mention the human footprint inside a dinosaur footprint. (http://www.bible.ca/tracks/taylor-trail.htm ). So please explain to me how these two issues fit into the evolution theory. Or are we just to ignore these particular facts?

posted on Sun, 10/30/2005 - 4:36pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

See Gene's comment below for full answers about how the "facts" of a fossil bone found in a boot and side-by-side human and dinosaur footprints fit with the theory of evolution. (Short answer: they are red herrings. One has never been subjected to scientific review, and the other has been widely debunked.)

However, the question about how soft tissue could be preserved for 65 million years intrigued me. I asked SMM's Curator of Paleontology, Kristi Curry Rogers, and here's what she said:

"At the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) meeting, held last week in Mesa, AZ, Mary Schweitzer presented more detailed biochemical analyses of these tissues. It doesn't seem as though there is another explanation for them. Perhaps under the right conditions, tissues like this could be preserved. It is also important to mention that the tissue wasn't 'stretchy' until Mary decalcified the bones. They were likely mineralized as well prior to decalcification. It's not as though the bone broke open and a bunch of stretchy 'recent-looking' vessels popped out."

Seems like some of the questions about how tissue could last 65 million years are the by-product of an oversimplification of the actual research by the mass media...

posted on Mon, 10/31/2005 - 11:44am
Nik's picture
Nik says:

quote"Submitted by Liza on Wed, 2005-04-06 12:11.
Scientists will surely try to recover proteins from the T. rex bones and analyze them. Comparing protein sequences is one way to figure out relationships between animals, both other prehistoric creatures and modern ones. But DNA itself is less stable than the proteins it codes for. Even in much younger specimens, recovered DNA is usually broken into fragments.

In the movie Jurassic Park, the scientists used frog DNA as "filler" to fix the broken-up DNA. This wouldn't be possible in the real world. And even if you could somehow recreate the entire dinosaur genome, you would need a living dinosaur egg cell to put the DNA into to create a clone."unquote.

Cant they use Ostrich's eggs? snice the ostrich has simlar
tissue.

posted on Sun, 11/06/2005 - 3:17pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The "human footprints" at Paluxy have been widely debunked. When I tried to find more information on the "fossil" foot in the boot, Google only gave me more creationist websites -- an indication that the boot has not been subjected to scientific scrutiny.

Fossilization takes place at different speeds under different circumstances, sometimes very fast. The speed at which something mineralizes is a geologic process, and not related to the biological process of evolution. The dinosaur bone may have mineralized in a few months or years, or it may have taken centuries. The important thing is that it was found in a rock layer known to be over 65 million years old. (Everyone agrees that the bone in the boot is very recent, some say just a few years old.)

Science does not ignore facts, and will adjust theories when new evidence arises. Anti-evolutionists often pick just one or two facts which seem to be problematic -- but which, on closer inspection, really aren't -- and ignore the millions of fossils and tens of thousands of scientiic papers which support evolution.

posted on Sun, 10/30/2005 - 10:27pm
Tom's picture
Tom says:

Scientists have been proven wrong before many times in history. What makes today's scientists so sure evolution is fact? Evidence of God is all around us, one only has to have an open mind.
Evolution is the religion of the state, a belief system to explain away creation, forced upon us in public school.
I don't believe in it, but my kids will have to listen to the same tired THEORY taught as fact, until like some other theories before it, evolution will be proven false.

posted on Fri, 11/11/2005 - 4:03am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Science is a messy process, and scientists are always testing their hypotheses and theories. Things change, and scientists are always getting new data and revising their findings. But evolution is one of the most tested and best substantiated theories out there. And many modern scientific disciplines have evolution at their core.

We've given you the scientific definition of a theory; you seem to be using the word in a different way. As we've said before, gravity is also a scientific theory, and no one suggests that we teach alternatives to gravity in public schools. And, believe in gravity or not, if you jump off a tall building, you'll still fall.

All that said, I don't think that evolution and God are mutually exclusive. Many, many scientists accept evolution as the only explanation for the processes we see around us and believe in God at the same time.

posted on Fri, 11/11/2005 - 11:30pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The Dalai Lama doesn't think that science and religion are mutually exclusive, either. Here's an op-ed piece he wrote for the New York Times on the subject.

posted on Sun, 11/13/2005 - 9:26pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Neither does Pope Benedict XVI. This reinforces statements made by Pope John Paul II in 1996 and Pope Pius XII in the 1940s.

posted on Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I would suggest that Tom is using a couple other words, besides "theory," in slightly different ways than they are used in science. This makes it hard to have a discussion, if we are using different meanings.

"Evidence" in science is something oibservable, repeatable, subject to experiemntation. There is no experiment for God. That doesn't mean He doesn't exist; it just means that He (She, It, as you will) is beyond the limits of science. While the faithful may see evidence of God in nature, in their fellow man, in any number of places, science doesn't accept anything on faith.

"Religion," so my dictionary says, is "belief in and reverence for a supernatural power." Supernatural is the key word there. Science does not deal in the supernatural. It deals only in the natural, what exists in the world, what can be measured and experimented on.

Elsewhere, we talked about "belief," and how when you believe IN something, you take it on faith; you accept it without experimental evidence. And again, science never never does that.

You touch on a very important point -- science can always be proven wrong. That's what makes it science. I can disprove gravity very easily -- all I have to do is drop a coffee cup and not have it fall! Of course, no one's ever done that. But if they did, we would have to totally rethink our entire understanding of gravity, because that experiment would go against all previous evidence.

But you cannot disprove God or religion, mainly because you cannot prove God or religion. There is no experiment, no mathematical forumla, that leads incontrovertably to God. You take it on faith. And faith cannot be tested in a lab or examined under a microscope. Faith is a poweful tool for understanding our lives, but it ain't science.

Science tries to understand WHAT the world is and HOW it works. But the big question -- WHY -- is beyond science. Why are we here? Why do we love? Why do I love my girlfriend? (More puzzling, why does she love me?) Why, contrary to all logic and reason, do I continue to root for the Cubs? Science has no answer for these, and other, more serious questions. Religion and other forms of philosophy must guide us there.

posted on Sat, 11/12/2005 - 9:52pm
me's picture
me says:

In the second responce by "dinosaurs (are just big lizards) that are dead". Why was the statement never adressed that "Soft tissue and any carbon based soft tissue should not be found IF it were 65 million years old". Because at least up till now that statement has been assumed true in the scientific field. Now this will change and will probably come a new theory to compensate, but at the moment what are the views? The anwser given did, however, address the fossil record, which is based on a very biased testing method that is basically composed of sampling, resampling and labeling to fit need. I'm not trying to sound like a jerk or make anyone mad, but was just wondering how that would answer the first question. thank you, me

posted on Fri, 11/11/2005 - 3:43pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Keep reading. A few entries down from that one, I posted a response from our curator of Paleontology, Kristi Curry Rogers; she was at this year's meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and she heard Mary Schweitzer, one of the scientists who published about this find, talk about the soft tissue. It wasn't soft tissue the way we think about it--not like meat. It had calcified, and she had to treat it before she could see the structures in these stunning images. You aren't the first person to ask this question, so I'll write to Dr. Schwietzer and see if I can get better answers from her.

I do want to say, though, that the fossil record is not based on a biased sampling method. New information is always adding to and refining our understanding of the past, but the basic stratigraphy is solid.

posted on Fri, 11/11/2005 - 11:21pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here's a nice article explaining the difference between science and religion, and how science, based on experimental evidence, can either be proven or disproven. Religious faith cannot.

And if, after reading all of these posts, you find yourself thirsty, go here for a refreshing brew! ;-)

posted on Sat, 11/12/2005 - 10:25pm
Rick's picture
Rick says:

Still patiently waiting for an answer to the question "Soft tissue and any carbon based soft tissue should not be found IF it were 65 million years old". The answer to this is crucial and further discussion of any thing else is unproductive until this has been addressed. No offense intended to any researchers here but I would perfer NOT to hear from a Paleontologist or Paleoanthropologist as that would be like asking the cast of CSI for help at a crime scene. I would prefer to hear an explanation from a nuclear physicist as to how these or any carbon structures could be so perfectly preserved for 65 million years. Anybody who truly believes in science would not engage in tangential discussions about religion or evolution without an answer to this question.

posted on Mon, 01/16/2006 - 12:42pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I just wrote to Dr. Schweitzer, the paleontologist who published the article in Science, today. I'll post her response just as soon as I have it.

I don't think a nuclear physicist is the person to ask, but I am looking for explanations from other scientists as well.

posted on Wed, 01/18/2006 - 11:39am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Dr. Schweitzer wrote me back right away. I asked her, "How is it possible that soft tissue has survived for 65 million years? Why didn't it decay?"

Her answer:

Hmmmm. Best answer i have right now is 'beats me'. But....to clarify, we are not sure exactly WHAT has survived. We are in the process of analyzing these tissues and cells for molecular and chemical information and content. I am still sifting thru reams and reams of data, but if they are some kind of artefact, or mimic even, then the question is moot. If, on the other hand, our data supports the possibility that maybe some real fragments of dinosaur proteins, lipids etc might remain, then we can try to work out mechanisms. I can say for sure that these tissues and cells are HIGHLY altered, and not consistent with modern tissues. It is possible that perhaps only altered and cross linked lipids from the original cell membranes preserve, and these would not be real informative.

We do have some preliminary information that the tissues are associated with tiny fragments of mineral, despite our long demineralization processes. So, perhaps they are preserved because of a process similar to the mineralization of collagen to form a stiff and hard bone. Perhaps if mineral adsorbed to the surfaces of the organic structures, as Kristi mentions below, both the original mineral and the original organics may be protected from degradation. Bone mineral is very stabilizing to organic molecules, and with cells and tissues so intimately associated with mineral maybe they just didn't degrade morphologically. However, again they seem to be altered at the molecular level.

We are still collecting and analyzing data, and continue to perform experiments that will help us to answer these things. But, it will take a while to go through all of the data we have, to be sure that we tell the right story. This is a slow and expensive process, but we are working as hard as we can, because I can assure you that we are just as curious as everyone else...We will publish in a peer reviewed journal as soon as we are confident in the robust-ness of our data and in our correct interpretations.

Hope that helps.

posted on Wed, 01/18/2006 - 2:19pm
a dead dinosaur's picture
a dead dinosaur says:

Even if the dinosaur cloning was possible, would it cause a wreck toward the world? How do we even know if we have a safety containment for a dinosaur? Because we don't know a lot about dinos, why do they bother creating dinosaurs? Its like creating many murderous Frankensteins.

posted on Tue, 01/17/2006 - 8:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Why in the world do we bother trying to create the past? Its gone! Why do we do that if we have a solar system to be discovered? If dinosaurs were recreated, they could become loose and not be what we expected. Or they could be just teeny tiny organism DNA that happened to be on the dinosaur before it died.

posted on Tue, 01/17/2006 - 8:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

A note of sarcasm for clarity about Evolution:

view 1. Once there was nothing, and then BANG suddenly there were fully formed dogs, people, planets and beautiful lights in the sky. (alot of evidence for this idea right)

View 2. Once the universe was the size of a basketball then BANG it exploded and now after billions of years the chemistry of the universe actually produces something amazing enough to contemplate its own existance.

The problem with creationism is that it doesn't address all the issues and only focuses on biological evolution. The fact that light travels 300,000,000 meters per second and that we can actually see galaxies over 13,230 million light-years away alone is evidence for evolution. Because if everyting was created at once for man to navigate by and for light in the night sky why create galexies 13,230 million light years away that can only be seen with extremely powerful telescopes. And if the earth is young (6,000-10,000 years)as some creationist argue then how is it that the light from these galaxies has been traveling longer than the universe has been around? In the words of Spock, "thats illogical"

posted on Thu, 01/26/2006 - 10:37am