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How are Dinosaur Tissues Preserved in Deep Time?  May 1, 2023 (Orig article)

Ever since Mary Schweitzer and her team made dinosaur 'soft tissue' a buzz word in the world of palaeontology, they have been seeking evidence to explain how these animal remains have managed to preserve such highly degradable materials in deep time.  The research team at North Carolina State University thinks it has cracked it. 

Tracey Peake, Public Communication Specialist at NCSU stated, "Fixatives like formaldehyde keep the tissues from degrading. In part, they make them less digestible to bacteria...Iron, potentially from hemoglobin (blood), reacts with oxygen to damage biomolecules such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA. It does this by creating free oxygen "radicals"—highly reactive oxygen molecules that can damage biomolecules. The damaged biomolecules form crosslinks (or bonds) with one another, which stabilizes their damaged structure. The end result is biomolecules altered by crosslinking, which stabilize the overall tissue." 

Dinosaur Soft Tissue—Have Evolutionists Solved the Problem?  May 25, 2023

Dr. Georgia Purdom (PhD in molecular genetics), from Answers in Genesis (AIG), provided a counter-argument to this by stating, "Dr. Jasmina Wiemann’s research group has postulated that carbonyl groups from fats and sugars also react in ways to form crosslinks in proteins. Iron reacting with oxygen can also form carbonyl groups, so the two processes may overlap and lead to crosslinking proteins. The problem is the amount of iron required to preserve soft tissue just isn’t available. In experiments done by Schweitzer’s group, they used levels of iron many times higher than would be found in hemoglobin from red blood cells. Fats and sugars degrade quickly, so the idea that they could contribute to crosslinking seems far-fetched as well."

News article: Soft tissue cells found  in 75 million year old dinosaur bones

Scientists Find Soft Tissue in 75 Million Year Old Dinosaur Bones

The Guardian 6/2015 (Orig article)

Dinosaur fossils, examined by British scientists, reveal soft tissue materials preserved allegedly for '75 million years'. Dug up in Canada a century ago and eventually stored at the Imperial College, London in poor condition, the team analysed eight fossil fragments belonging to a dinosaur claw and toe. 


Dr Sergio Bertazzo, co-author from the Department of Materials stated, "...the ancient tissue structures we have analysed have some similarities to red blood cells and collagen fibres".  Dr Susannah Maidment, Jr Research Fellow from the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial College further stated, “Our study is helping us to see that preserved soft tissue may be more widespread in dinosaur fossils than we originally thought. Although remnants of soft tissues have previously been discovered in rare, exceptionally preserved fossils, what is particularly exciting about our study is that we have discovered structures reminiscent of blood cells and collagen fibres in scrappy, poorly preserved fossils. This suggests that this sort of soft tissue preservation might be widespread in fossils…”.

Theropod claw appearing to contain red blood cells.
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