In 1992, when Mary Schweitzer discovered soft tissue in a T-Rex, she was subsequently presented with the problem of contradicting the deep time fossil model to which she was continually reminded by her sceptical peers. As such, she began the laborious but commendable tasks of confirming her discovery and searching for evidence that would both explain why this T-Rex soft tissue was present while keeping the generally accepted model intact.
Mary Schweitzer in the lab
Mary Schweitzer with Jack Horner
After further research, she came to the conclusion, “...that under certain conditions organic substances, such as remains of blood, bone cells and claws, may persist in fossils for millions of years.” She claims that the iron in the blood was capable of protecting amino acids, proteins, cells and other molecular structures against degradation to the significant preservation of organic matter. This has since been compared to a ‘fixative formaldehyde effect’. As explained, there is a crosslinking between iron (from hemoglobin/haemoglobin) and oxygen (oxidisation) creates this fixative environment.
“Scientists do not understand exactly what sometimes allows organic substances to persist for tens of millions of years, but they have identified factors... that may aid the preservation and recovery of these materials.” (Blood from Stone: MH Schweitzer 2010)
Far from a slam dunk, game over, break out the champagne celebration, there are many sceptics shouting, “Foul!”, pronouncing that the real science hasn’t been done on this, that there isn’t anywhere enough ‘naturally occurring’ iron present to affect this kind of preservation over many millions of years. What does the evidence say? Are deep-timers onto a solution here or are they only demonstrating desperation in defending an untenable position? What do you say?
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:
(47) Soft tissue and cellular preservation in vertebrate skeletal elements from the Cretaceous 2007
*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.