Janice Boekhoff


 ID 19038214 © Andrey Troitskiy | Dreamstime.com

Dinosaurs Rock! Literally, all the dinosaurs we are ever going to know are rock–their remains have turned to stone. Or have they?

Turns out, some specimens aren’t completely fossilized. Yes, the bones of some dinosaur fossils aren’t as rocky as we once thought.

In 2005, Dr. Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State, found soft tissue preserved inside the femur of a T-Rex. This soft tissue included a stretchy matrix, later identified as collagen, and cells shaped like red blood cells. It was a shocking scientific find, considering the bones were supposed to be 65 million years old.

You might ask, why hasn’t anyone found soft tissue before? The answer is simple. Nobody looked. Scientific thought over the centuries has been that fossils are all rock. And because scientists didn’t believe there would be any soft tissue inside their fossils, why destroy the fossils looking for it?

Scientists have this image of being unbiased observers, but I can tell you from experience, scientists are not immune to the same herd mentality which affects so many people. And the effect can be magnified by the way our scientists decide what to research. If you’re seeking funding for something no one believes exists, then you’ll have a hard time getting any money. This means that, out of self-preservation, you will move toward a research subject you know will bring funding. So you don’t get to reserch what you want, you research what benefactors are willing to pay for. Sound very scientific to you?

Back to Dr. Schweitzer. She only found the soft tissue inside the T-rex femur because paleontologists in the field had to break it to transport it off site. When the bones came to the lab, she thought they had a cadaverous smell. This caused her to look at them under a microscope where she found what looked like red blood cells. Later, she found the stretchy collagen after dissolving away the surrounding fossilized material.

Since her initial discovery, Dr. Schweitzer has spent a lot of time trying to understand how the soft tissue could have been preserved for so long. Recently, she released research which indicates the iron in the T-rex’s blood could have caused the unusual preservation. In laboratory conditions, she has demonstrated that red blood vessels soaked in a hemoglobin solution were preserved for two years, while red blood vessels soaked in water degraded within days. Is this really what we’re considering science these days? Dr. Schweitzer can make the conclusion that soft tissue is preserved by iron for 65 million years because it was preserved for 2 years in her lab?

Paleontologists are desperate to show how this soft tissue could have survived intact because they can’t explain it using an old-earth time frame. They’d rather hunt for extreme methods of preservation than consider revising their assumptions about the age of the earth. I don’t think even formaldehyde could preserve something for millions of years. Do you?



  1. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v8/n1/iron-key-dinosaur-tissue
  2. http://news.discovery.com/animals/dinosaurs/mysteriously-intact-t-rex-tissue-finally-explained-131127.htm
  3. http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/dinosaur-dna

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