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Author Topic:   Blood in dino bones
simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 1 of 138 (194254)
03-24-2005 10:10 PM


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4379577.stm

How could soft tissue last 70 million years? It couldn't.


Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3947
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 138 (194277)
03-24-2005 11:53 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

Despite message 1 being essentially a bare link, promoting the topic seemed like the thing to do.

Another source for the same story is http://story.news.yahoo.com/...

Now people, let's try not to turn this topic into a babble-fest.

Adminnemooseus

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-24-2005 11:57 PM


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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3865
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 8.7


Message 3 of 138 (194282)
03-25-2005 12:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by simple
03-24-2005 10:10 PM


The admin mode considered plugging this topic into "Dates and Dating".

How could soft tissue last 70 million years? It couldn't.

Short answer: The age of the rocks are determined independently of whatever might also be found in the rocks. Amazingly enough, it seems that soft tissue indeed can be preserved that long.

Moose

Edit: Once again forgot to change from admin mode.

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-25-2005 12:03 AM


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simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 4 of 138 (194306)
03-25-2005 1:04 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Minnemooseus
03-25-2005 12:02 AM


quote:
Short answer: The age of the rocks are determined independently of whatever might also be found in the rocks. Amazingly enough, it seems that soft tissue indeed can be preserved that long.

Then if it is deemed unlikely soft tissue and blood would be around after millions of years, it is a good indication that the dating is way off of the rocks, for some reason!

I don't believe that it is logical to assume only present physical decay rates have been around forever anyhow. Not that the rates themselves have changed, but the process itself must have been different. Why? Well, since a spiritual factor is not considered science, we can't get into it. Unless it was bumped to coffee house. Anyhow, "This rapid burial provides a sealing effect from bacteria and oxygen that otherwise would have completely destroyed the organism. Except in extremely rare conditions, soft parts are never fossilised. It is more common to find fossilised hard skeletal remains or trace fossils. " http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/Sciences/Paleontology/FossilsAndFossilisation/...

Blood and soft tissue, come on, I think the evos are caught!

{Shortened display form of URL, to restore page width to normal. Also added blank lines between paragraphs - Adminnemooseus}

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-25-2005 01:12 AM


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aristarchus
Member (Idle past 1944 days)
Posts: 31
Joined: 01-11-2005


Message 5 of 138 (194315)
03-25-2005 1:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by simple
03-24-2005 10:10 PM


s
My initial reaction, when reading about this find, was how exciting it was that a discovery was made that opened doors to new areas of knowledge about the past. My second thought was, "boy, I bet the creationist are going to have a field day with this." And that it what's so pernicious about the creationist movement. You can't make new discoveries or correct mistaken beliefs without someone trying to make the claim that everything else is completely invalid.

On one hand creationist accuse scientists of hiding any data that puts evolution in doubt, then turn around and depend upon science to make discoveries that fuel their flame. It seems that creationists should either admit that new discoveries such as this don't harm evolutionary theory, or admit that they were wrong about there being a scientific coverup.

" How could soft tissue last 70 million years? It couldn't."

Could you please tell me how long soft tissue can survive? Then tell me, from what scientific studies you got your answer?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by simple, posted 03-24-2005 10:10 PM simple has responded

Replies to this message:
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MangyTiger
Member (Idle past 5469 days)
Posts: 989
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 07-30-2004


Message 6 of 138 (194319)
03-25-2005 1:33 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by simple
03-25-2005 1:04 AM


Read the article more closely...
From the BBC article you linked to in the OP :

Dr Schweitzer is not making any grand claims that these soft traces are the degraded remnants of the original material - only that they give that appearance.

"This may not be fossilisation as we know it, of large macrostructures, but fossilisation at a molecular level," commented Dr Matthew Collins, who studies ancient bio-molecules at York University, UK.

"My suspicion is this process has led to the reaction of more resistant molecules with the normal proteins and carbohydrates which make up these cellular structures, and replaced them, so that we have a very tough, resistant, very lipid-rich material - a polymer that would be very difficult to break down and characterise, but which has preserved the structure," he told the BBC.

It's early days yet, but I don't think this is going to shatter the foundations of evolutionary biology. It's just a rare and fascinating glimpse into a creature that lived millions of years ago.

I'm not a paleontologist (or any other kind of scientist), I just read the article you provided, so I could be wrong - but at least I did read the article :)


Confused ? You will be...

This message is a reply to:
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Sylas
Member (Idle past 4376 days)
Posts: 766
From: Newcastle, Australia
Joined: 11-17-2002


Message 7 of 138 (194335)
03-25-2005 2:34 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by MangyTiger
03-25-2005 1:33 AM


Re: Read the article more closely...
The major researcher here is Mary Schweitzer, who has been involved in this kind of work now for over ten years. She hit the news in 1997 with a possible detection of heme compounds as remains from dinosaur hemoglobin (Heme compounds in dinosaur trabecular bone, M. Schweitzer et al; PNAS Vol. 94, Jun 1997, pp. 6291-6296) and this was widely and erroneously reported as a find of blood cells and/or complete hemoglobin molecules. There was also an earlier report of possible dinosaur DNA, but that did not pan out. It was almost certainly contamination. She has definitely found some of the more durable proteins (like keratin). The work is fascinating, and she focuses on cases of exceptionally good preservation.

These are highly degraded remains at the molecular level, which have not been fully mineralized and so traces of organic compounds may even remain.

An interesting detail; Schweitzer is a Christian; and she gets very angry at the way her work is used by creationists. Unfortunately, she has not spoken up about this clearly in public. I emailed her some years ago to ask about the heme compounds research, and she expressed a very strong reaction against the creationist misrepresentations on the "blood cells" issue mentioned above. There is no serious question about the age of the fossils.

This particular report is a new one, and it is reported in Science, March 25 2005. The formal reference to the scientific paper is:


Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex
by Mary H. Schweitzer, Jennifer L. Wittmeyer, John R. Horner, and Jan K. Toporski
in Science 25 March 2005; 307: pp 1952-1955 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1108397]

I've looked at the paper. It is quite fascinating, but there is no molecular analysis reported. The preservation appears remarkable, but the extent of relacement is unclear. From the conclusion of the scientific paper:
The elucidation and modeling of processes resulting in soft-tissue preservation may form the basis for an avenue of research into the recovery and characterization of similar structures in other specimens, paving the way for micro- and molecular taphonomic investigations. Whether preservation is strictly morphological and the result of some kind of unknown geochemical replacement process or whether it extends to the subcellular and molecular levels is uncertain. However, we have identified protein fragments in extracted bone samples, some of which retain slight antigenicity (3). These data indicate that exceptional morphological preservation in some dinosaurian specimens may extend to the cellular level or beyond.

ELIZA immunoassays were applied, and submitted as evidence of some molecular level preservation. There were also some elemental analysis, which looks to me to indicate atoms remaining from organic material (high carbon signal).

There was also a commentary article, but my connection broke before I could read it.

Cheers -- Sylas


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simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 8 of 138 (194359)
03-25-2005 3:40 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by aristarchus
03-25-2005 1:30 AM


black helicopters
quote:
On one hand creationist accuse scientists of hiding any data that puts evolution in doubt, then turn around and depend upon science to make discoveries that fuel their flame.

Hey, there's way too much to sweep under the carpet. After all, what do you think is going on, some kind of conspiracy?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by aristarchus, posted 03-25-2005 1:30 AM aristarchus has responded

Replies to this message:
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aristarchus
Member (Idle past 1944 days)
Posts: 31
Joined: 01-11-2005


Message 9 of 138 (194360)
03-25-2005 3:47 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by simple
03-25-2005 3:40 AM


Re: black helicopters
"After all, what do you think is going on, some kind of conspiracy?"

No I don't. I have seen many comments from creationists, however, implying there is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by simple, posted 03-25-2005 3:40 AM simple has responded

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simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 10 of 138 (194363)
03-25-2005 3:58 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Sylas
03-25-2005 2:34 AM


fresh blood
quote:
An interesting detail; Schweitzer is a Christian; and she gets very angry at the way her work is used by creationists.

Well, She'll just have to get over it.
quote:
There is no serious question about the age of the fossils

Based on what? decay rates?
quote:
. Whether preservation is strictly morphological and the result of some kind of unknown geochemical replacement process or whether it extends to the subcellular and molecular levels is uncertain
Right. In layman's english, they just don't know, haven't a clue.
quote:
). These data indicate that exceptional morphological preservation in some dinosaurian specimens may extend to the cellular level or beyond.

Well at least in the specimen it is supposed to be refering to, namely the t rex.

Just wait till some others start opening the dino bones they already got!


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simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 11 of 138 (194364)
03-25-2005 4:02 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by aristarchus
03-25-2005 3:47 AM


Re: black helicopters
Well, the head of such a conspiracy is most often attributed to a certain spirit. Science can't detect spirits, and therefore can not acknowledge them. Therefore even if there is such a conspiracy science would be utterly able to detect it!

This message is a reply to:
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simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 12 of 138 (194365)
03-25-2005 4:10 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by MangyTiger
03-25-2005 1:33 AM


Re: Read the article more closely...
quote:
but I don't think this is going to shatter the foundations of evolutionary biology. It's just a rare and fascinating glimpse into a creature that lived millions of years ago.

Really? Funny how the tissue and blood have weathered the years so well, tens of millions of them, supposedly. And since it was rare to open these things up, I wonder how rare it really will turn out to be as every dino bone collector rips them open, looking for more? Ha

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Sylas
Member (Idle past 4376 days)
Posts: 766
From: Newcastle, Australia
Joined: 11-17-2002


Message 13 of 138 (194366)
03-25-2005 4:20 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by simple
03-25-2005 4:10 AM


Re: Read the article more closely...
And since it was rare to open these things up, I wonder how rare it really will turn out to be as every dino bone collector rips them open, looking for more? Ha

Very rare indeed. We already know that; looking inside a fossil is not as uncommon as you suggest. The vast majority of fossils have nothing like this, which is what makes this report so interesting and exciting. The report does actually look at a couple of other well preserved fossils for similar effects, but the main fossil focus of the report was on the one with the best preserved microstructures. Montana seems to be a better place than most for such unusually detailed preservation.

Cheers -- Sylas


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by simple, posted 03-25-2005 4:10 AM simple has responded

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simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 14 of 138 (194367)
03-25-2005 4:40 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Sylas
03-25-2005 4:20 AM


crack em like easter eggs
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news...
Horner said he hoped museums around the world would start cracking open bones and looking for soft tissue in their fossils.

"Dinosaurs are relatively rare and we certainly think of Tyrannosaurus rex as being really rare -- although it really isn't -- so people tend not to want to cut holes into the bone or cut them in half," he said.

"But to study the cellular and molecular structures of these things you have to do that." The "good stuff," he said, is on the inside.

{Shortened display form of URL, to restore page width to normal - Adminnemooseus}

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-25-2005 05:27 AM


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Sylas
Member (Idle past 4376 days)
Posts: 766
From: Newcastle, Australia
Joined: 11-17-2002


Message 15 of 138 (194368)
03-25-2005 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by simple
03-25-2005 4:40 AM


Re: crack em like easter eggs
Sure; it would be great to find more fossils like this, and that will require looking inside. By I don't think anyone, Jack Horner included, expects preservation detail such as reported in Science to be common. The report (he is a co-author) describes the preservation in this fossil as exceptional. But finding more would be a good thing, even if not to quite the same level of detail. Just breaking all fossils open is not the best way to proceed, however. For one thing, it is worth be careful in choosing which fossils to investigate, and for another it needs to be done really carefully to avoid contamination.

Cheers -- Sylas


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