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Author Topic:   Soft Tissue Surviving 65 Million Years?
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 3 of 77 (508763)
05-16-2009 2:25 AM


I'll start it off :)

I do think the real issue about this is not so much about the soft tissues, but instead about the proteins (collagen I think) found inside the fossils.

Preservation of sequences of proteins is not relevant to fossilization or tissue decay, but to thermodynamics. Eventually, only by the movement at the atomic level, proteins break down. Lab experiments with the best possible preservation conditions (no oxygen, no bacteria, etc.) have come with maximum ages of 3 millions years at 0ºC, less then 200 000 years at 10ºC and less then 15 000 years at 20ºC. Even in temparatures much lower then any found on earth, it does not come close to 65 millions years.

And so to resume it up, the degree of fossilization, preservation of the fossil, conditions of burial etc. do not affect the thermodynamic decay of such proteins. They can only prevent the decay to be accelerated by oxygen, bacteria, etc.

EDIT: note that creationist have not excluded that an unknown process could be at hand and would have a dramatic effect on the thermodynamic decay of such molecules. But up until such a process is found, evoquing it's existence is special pleading.

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 9 of 77 (508900)
05-17-2009 4:25 AM


Sorry I forgot I involved myself in this debate.

Yeah that's where I got the numbers. We could send a message to CMI about their use of that equation. It takes them about 2-3 weeks to answer. Anyone wants to compose a text to send them, we could then post their answer on here and discuss it.

I'm not real familiar quite bio-chemistry either.

Pretty much every macro-molecules such as DNA and proteins degrade with hydrolysis. But I do think that they degrade with thermodynamics alone (2nd law probably).

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


  
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 10 of 77 (508901)
05-17-2009 4:31 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by cavediver
05-16-2009 11:48 AM


Like Percy, I would like to know the source of this information. But more specifically, what proteins are we talking about here? I'm no bio-chemist, but even I know that collagen forms the structural strength in living organisms, and is unsurprisingly robust compared to most other proteins. I would pause for thought before throwing around accusations of special pleading...

I view special pleading as somehow part of the reality of scientific reasoning and I certainly didn't intend it as negative or anything. It is just natural to invoke an unknown cause before throwing your previous theory down. Creationist do it to, even more then others probably.

So I don't see it as something negative to identify special pleading when it is, as long as it doesn't stay that way forever lol

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 13 of 77 (509007)
05-18-2009 1:52 AM


I went to see the wikipedia definition of special pleading since it seemed to me we didn't have the same definition lol, probably because of the language barrier.(me=french) I viewed it more as simply speculating the existence of an unknown thing (in this case, conditions which would make the proteins survive 65 millions years)to explain results which do not fit with previous data.

I'll go ask CMI if they have a peer-reviewed reference article about the decay time of such molecules, we'll have to wait their answer (unless someone here can find one in that time)

As suspected, research into the survivability of soft tissue is in its infancy. If research eventually indicates its impossible then the claims of intact dinosaur protein will have to be discarded. If not then we learn more about dinosaurs.

The proteins are not 100% intact obviously, since thermodynamics alone already had started to break it up. But they are intact enough to have sequenced it and compared it to bird proteins, so in any case, their actual presence cannot really be discarded. If research really does prove this to be impossible, then we will have to learn more about dinosaurs.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 16 of 77 (509144)
05-19-2009 2:00 AM


Schweitzer's research appears to have proved it can happen already. The question now is how collagen bits get preserved for 80 million years.

All Schweitzer found is that collagen is present in dinosaur bones, not really that it can last for 65 million years ...

Now here's the thing with Schweitzer's discovery. As Percy correctly pointed out, it does not underpin an ancient earth nor evolution. Assuming that the evolutionary interpretation of geology and the fossil record is right, dinosaurs have disappeared in the record for the past 65 million years, which, at first hand, would seem to prove they have gone extinct. But this is not necessarily true: Coelacanth also have disappeared from the past 65 millions years in the fossil record, but as we all know, they did not go extinct, since they are found alive today. (as is the case with every ''living fossil'')

If research can be done to estimate the maximum time collagen can survive, and it doesn't allow 65 millions years of survival, then it doesn't throw all evolution down, it simply shows that the dinosaurs probably did not go extinct 65 million years ago, they just disappeared from the fossil record as the coelacanth did and a lot of other living fossils have done.

In any case, it would simply mean a revision of the history of the dinosaurs. If they did not go extinct 65 millions years ago, then when DID they go extinct ? If it turns out to be true, we cannot know from the fossils since they dissapeared from it. The only other way would be to look at the recorded history of mankind, or at the clues left behind by caveman with their drawings. Both recorded history (threw dragons tales) and cave drawings seem to point that man did coexist with at least some type of big lizards, which could well be some dinosaur who would have survived. If anyone would be interested in discussing this possibility, we could open another thread about it.

Edited by slevesque, : grammar


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 19 of 77 (509165)
05-19-2009 3:35 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Percy
05-19-2009 2:50 AM


Ooohhh right on, I forgot for a moment there that the bones were found in sediments believed to be 65 millions years old, which puts the bone also at 65 millions years old.

Then the other possibility would be that the sediment is not as old as believed. You don't have to throw away all cosmology and geology for that to be true. Although geology would be changed I agree.

Although I doubt this would happen, I would be curious to see the result of carbon dating on that dinosaur bone.

The chance Schweitzer is mistaken is slim to none. When the announcement of the T-rex soft tissues were announced, many people simply said she was mistaken, contamination etc. But in her recent finding (the Hadrosaur) she took extreme car about this so that no one could invoke contamination as a possible explanation of the data.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 20 of 77 (509167)
05-19-2009 3:43 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Dr Adequate
05-19-2009 2:53 AM


Re: Special Pleading / Dragons
Which previous data?

I was talking in a more broader sense in regards to what I thought ws special pleading. But for this particular case, I have sent a message to CMI for peer-reviewed articles of the longevity of collagen and other proteins and macromolecules.

But where is this research? If you cannot produce it, then it doesn't take "special pleading" to postulate an "unknown mechanism" that preserved it, rather it takes wishful thinking to postulate, in the face of the known facts, some unknown mechanism that must have destroyed it by now

I have to disagree with you here. I have invoked Thermodynamics as a mechanism (2nd law) which would destroy the collagen. It is not an unknown mechanism.

http://www.biochemist.org/bio/02403/0012/024030012.pdf talks of the longevity of such molecules. But it seems that 'the biochemist' is not a peer-reviewed journal, so we'll have to wait CMI answer. (BTW, how is an easy way to identify if a journal is peer-reviewed)

you don't say

Are you telling me crocodiles fly ? :P

I'm game.

This could be fun, you want me to start the thread or you will ?

Edited by slevesque, : mistake


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 23 of 77 (509476)
05-22-2009 2:00 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Dr Adequate
05-19-2009 4:25 AM


Re: Special Pleading / Dragons
I'm not clear what you're getting at. Do you suggest that something other than collagen is more thermodynamically stable, and that collegen should have turned into whatever-it-is by now?

Show your working: in particular, calculate how long it would take.

If you just say "Thermodynamics" as an explanation, you're not really providing an mechanism any more than if someone gave the answer "Biochemistry" to explain why the collagen should have been preserved.

I suggest that the random movements of electrons in the collagen would have it break down slowly but steadily, to the point it could not possibly be sequenced. You will have to wait CMI answer for any working, and I didn't simply say 'thermodynamics'', but the second law of thermodynamics, which is as much precision as I can give you right now.

No. If you are claiming that tales of flying dragons are evidence of living (non-avian) dinosaurs, are you telling me that dinosaurs could fly?

Although some dinosaurs could fly, it was more of a joke, since as you've pointed out, some dragon stories also involve non avian dinosaurs.

You're the one with the claims, if you'd like to start the thread I'll be happy to join in.

If you wish, you could ask the moderators for it to be a debate specifically with me, or you could throw it open to all comers.

I'm engaged in a couple threads already around here. But I'll start an open thread about this as soon as I can. I like open threads better since any comers can put forth new ideas and arguments.

Edited by slevesque, : No reason given.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 24 of 77 (509478)
05-22-2009 2:12 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Percy
05-19-2009 8:56 AM


Rather than me repeating what I just said, please see Message 15, the last three paragraphs, and especially the part about every field of science being interwoven with every other field.

Although it pretty much ends at radioactive decay and sedimentology. while I absolutly agree it would need good changes in our view of the former, I would suggest it would only involve some minor tweeks in the later, although I don't know the geologic position of the fossils. Some positions would recquire more adaptation then others.

First, radiocarbon dating can only be used for organic material that is less than about 60,000 years old because the half-life of 14C is relatively short, around 5500 years off the top of my head. By the time half the radioactive 14C has decayed a dozen times, there's no detectable amount left. In other words, all organic material older than 60,000 years has no significant levels of 14C left, which leads to...

Second, this means that ancient dinosaur bones will date to around 60,000 years old using radiocarbon dating, or perhaps a bit younger if the background radioactivity level was above average such as can occur in some coal and iron rich layers. Elevated levels of background radiation produce small amounts of 14C.

I believe that with the new technology in accelerated particules, they can go up to a maximum of 200 000-250 000 years old.

Schweitzer's team can repeat their studies as many times as they like, they still represent a single research team at a single lab. Replication requires that other research teams are able to reproduce the results

I wasn't clear enough on this, but in her recent Hadrosaur discovery, she sent samples to two other labs for independant confirmation. She really did her homework so that no critics could neglect her data. I think this discovery is here to stay, and so a mechanism to preserve these proteins in 65 millions years old bones will have to be found eventually.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Fix quote box.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 28 of 77 (509638)
05-23-2009 4:10 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by Percy
05-22-2009 7:33 AM


Re: Special Pleading / Dragons
Why are you writing to a religious organization (Creation Ministries International) for scientific information? They'll tell you what you want to hear, a sort of scientific apologetic for conservative [/qs]
Christianity, but they won't provide you accurate scientific information about protein survival rates. Are you somehow under the impression that they have their own laboratories conducting research on protein longevity but that they aren't publishing in the technical literature, and that therefore you have to write to them for scientific information that only they have because since they don't publish you won't find it on the web? Did I mention I have a bridge for sale...

OMG, if I have to start saying things I have already said twice, this won't end ...
from myself one page ago:

quote:
I'll go ask CMI if they have a peer-reviewed reference article about the decay time of such molecules, we'll have to wait their answer (unless someone here can find one in that time)

All I asked them was if they had a peer-reviewed article that deals with the longevity of organic molecules. Not homemade research

Unless you're including birds and bird predecessors among the dinosaurs, no dinosaurs could fly. You might be thinking of pterosaurs, which were reptiles, not dinosaurs.

Thx for the info, I'm not really aware of reptile classification. I thought dinosaur pretty much englobed all ancient reptiles.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 29 of 77 (509640)
05-23-2009 4:31 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Percy
05-22-2009 7:51 AM


Only ignorance could suggest that "minor tweeks" could reinterpret geological layers as indicating a young Earth. When you've figured out what those "minor tweeks" are you let us know. And of course the radiometric data alone is sufficient to doom any young Earth interpretation.

It is not about reinterpreting geological layers as indicating a young earth. If it turns out that only very few dinosaur bones have soft tissues, then occasional castrastrophist scenarios could explain it.

We know volcanic erruptions such as at mount st-helens can create stratas. Now it could be a possibility that the few dinosaur bones that would have soft tissues simply died in such erruptions. It does not need a massive change of geology. Castrophist scenarios are sometimes used even in an overall uniformitarian geology.

Now if we discover that it is impossible that organic molecules can tough 65 millions years AND that the majority of dinosaur fossils possess soft tissues, as Jack Horner proposes, THEN it would involve a massive change of sedimentology I totally agree. But this is the essence of falsification


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 35 of 77 (509709)
05-24-2009 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Percy
05-23-2009 7:23 AM


Yeah, well now that I know it was found in sandstone, I agree my example is not relevant in this case. (although I was implying mudflows rather than lava flows). Since you seem to know more then I do in geology, I'll agree that maybe it would change a lot of things in our knowledge of geology. But This is the power of falsification, isn't it ?

But I'll have to disagree with you on the second part. It would change a lot of what we know about radiometric dating, but not necesserely all of physics. We know how nuclear decay works, but up until now we always consider it to be constant in the past, because, up until now, the only data that would suggest that this may not be the case had being brought up by creationist.

But now if it is shown that this collagen could not have lasted 65 millions years, then for the first time their would be a legitimate reasons to question the validity of the radiometric methods.

This is also why it could be interesting to carbon date those fossils. If it turns out that it would give a carbon-14 amount within the error margin and so a date to the very limit of the dating technique, then it would be evidence that would favor the existence of a mechanism that can preserve collagen for vast amounts of time.

But if it turned out to give a carbon14 amount beyond the error margin (multiple dating on multiple bones would have to be done of course to prevent the possibility of contamination) then it would be in favor that maybe the fossil could actually be young.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 36 of 77 (509711)
05-24-2009 2:56 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by JonF
05-23-2009 12:02 PM


The article represents badly what creationist say about radiometric dating ( I think you call that a 'strawman' in english)

Creationist are not saying radiometric dating don't work, they are saying that the assumption that the nuclear decay is constant may not be true. This is very different, concurring dates for the same rock or layer does not prove this.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 39 of 77 (509718)
05-24-2009 4:09 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by cavediver
05-24-2009 3:27 AM


My comment was not really of the facts for or against what they are saying.

All I'm saying is this: creationist (rightly or wrongly) say that the nucler decay was not constant. They do not say that radiometric dating is invalid.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2874 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 40 of 77 (509719)
05-24-2009 4:11 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by bluescat48
05-24-2009 3:36 AM


I agree, but simply 'older then 50 000 years' as a result (assuming the max age is 50 000 years) would be sufficient to cast doubt on the interpretations creationist do of this data.
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