Monday, November 1, 2010

Extraordinary Mosasaur Fossil Reveals Creationist Can't Read

Brian Thomas, a science writer at the Institute for Creation Research, has an article in the current issue of the ICR's Acts & Facts.  The actual title of the article is "Extraordinary Mosasaur Fossil Reveals Original Soft Tissue."  This title is not entirely accurate.  The fossil of Platecarpus tympaniticus has matter that is "interpreted as" (one wonders how an ICR science writer would have dealt with that phrase if it had concerned, say, the 75 million year age of the fossil) compacted remains of the retina: structures that have "a morphology that is comparable to "  that of retinal melanosomes in its eye sockets.  It has a reddish splotch that is interpreted as indicating the position of the heart and liver.  Thomas notes that:

Using state-of-the-art equipment, they identified “hemoglobin decomposition products.”1 Hemoglobin is a major chemical constituent of blood. Anyone who has accidentally left meat out of the refrigerator overnight knows that it decomposes quickly. After death, hemoglobin proteins always fall apart, even when sterilized and with no water, spontaneously converting into smaller, simpler molecules.
The authors did not address the glaring question of why there was dried blood residue in a fossil dated as millions of years old. The reason is simple—they have no idea why!

But then, "hemoglobin decomposition products" are not the same thing as hemoglobin, much less the same thing as blood and actual tissue.  The fossil has chemical stains that probably indicate where blood-rich organs once were; it doesn't actually have those organs.  And while it's very rare for fossils to preserve outlines and stains indicating former soft tissue, it's hardly unheard of.  It seems rather more likely that they don't address this "glaring question" because they didn't consider it a glaring question at all: some fossils just have better soft tissue impressions than others.

Thomas introduces a quote from a different article about a different fossil -- Mary Schweitzer's stinky T. rex bones with their apparent blood vessels and reddish spots (but no actual surviving blood cells): “all of the chemistry, and all of the molecular breakdown experiments that [scientists have] done don’t allow for this" -- and concludes that this is another fossils that undermines the idea that fossils could be tens of millions rather than mere thousands of years old.  That all the physics and all the research done on decay rates doesn't allow radiometric dating to be off by about four orders of magnitude is not, of course, a point he brings up, nor does he dwell on the point that we have considerably less evidence for the mutability of radiometric decay rates than we do for the mutability of decay rates of organic compounds like hemoglobin or collagen.

Thomas closes by declaring that the fossil and its sediments are "powerful evidence" of Noah's Flood.  He doesn't dwell on the question of why, e.g. if all these different created kinds lived simultaneously, we don't find mosasaurs in the same strata as ichthyosaurs, on the one hand, or cetaceans, on the other.  Nor does he dwell on the rather puzzling question of why we don't find a lot of mosasaurs swimming off the coast today.  After all, the whole point Noah taking every kind of land animal aboard the Ark would seem to be that God did not wish any of His "created kinds" to go extinct in the flood.  Yet young-earth creationists seem to casually assume that He would not trouble to preserve dinosaurs, or cynodonts, or plesiosaurs, or the aforementioned mosasaurs, once they disembarked from the Ark or swam away from the rapidly rising mountains.  For a great many "kinds" and their constituent species, YECs have turned the Ark from a story about preservation to one about extinction.


  1. Oh I think carl has shown time and time again that creationists can't read.

  2. I would love to believe that, but I am one of the people he mailed his sons medical records too.

  3. But medical records don't record tendencies to Poe-icity, do they?


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  5. Interesting....Since researchers at Lund are quoted as saying..."Moreover, the discovery demonstrates that the preservation of primary soft tissues and endogenous biomolecules is not limited to large-sized bones buried in fluvial sandstone environments, but also occurs in relatively small-sized skeletal elements deposited in marine sediments."

    In other words, not only was it SOFT TISSUE, but it was in marine sediment. Why is that important because it destroys the ridiculous rescue story of iron solution in sandstone being necessary for long-term preservation.

    Read more at: