In the last 60 years, the advent of powerful mass spectrometers has led to advances in the field of proteomics (analysis and identification of amino acids, lipids, polypeptides and proteins). The discovery, by many researchers of proteins in the geological column, has led to the new and emerging field of paleoproteomics. Large proteomic databases such as Swiss-Prot are able to identify individual proteins such as collagen and keratin with a high degree of certainty.
In 2019 a review of all the papers published in the scientific literature since 1966, documenting soft tissue (including proteins) in the geological column, was undertaken. The results were startling; at that point (2019) there were over 70 papers documenting such finds found all over the world. Since then to date (2023), a further 50 papers have been published, making the total over 120. Once thought to be impossible, the use of these advanced materials analysis techniques has revealed fragile proteins in a range of fossils extending throughout the geological column.
Since so many biochemicals can now be identified to a high degree of certainty in these deep-time soft tissues (a few listed above), what can they contribute to our ‘knowledge’ of the true ages of the fossils?
There are now more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journal articles reporting soft tissues in dinosaur and other deep-time organic remains. These scientific papers describe biological material, including tissue and DNA, remaining inside fossils. A full list, which is being continually updated, is provided here: *List of Biomaterial Fossil Papers
Example papers for this topic:
(106) Anchiornis feather keratin 2019 (96) Melanin in nodosaurus dino (and other biologicals) 2017
(58) Hadrosaur biomolecules, collagen & other proteins 2010
(10) Dinosaur proteins and polysaccharides 1974
*This list of biomaterial papers can provide useful information for research and posting on topics within the Dinosaur Project Community. Thanks to researchgate.net for making this list freely available.