T-Rex Soft Tissue
(Investigator 125, 2009 March)
The recent discovery of soft tissue inside a fossilized T-rex femur has
the young earth creationist world buzzing. They claim this startling
evidence clearly supports a young earth. However, as usual, young earth
creationists are "grasping at straws" while ignoring the whole haystack
(for links to the Answers in Genesis article, see below).
Even more interesting is what Answers
in Genesis omits from the original article, as they "pick and
choose," as is their style, only those portions that support their
Carl Wieland of AiG calls this a "stunning rebuttal of millions of
years." Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of focusing
only on the soft tissue alone (the "straw"), let's examine the whole
First, some expectations. If we were to find some soft tissue of
dinosaurs, where is the most likely place to find it? The answer is
obvious...in the most recent fossils. The T-rex was one of the last of
the dinosaurs, living in the last five million years of dinosaur
existence, from 70-65 million years ago.
Second expectation...what body part would we expect to contain the soft
tissue? Here again, the answer is obvious. The soft tissue stands the
best chance of being preserved in a large bone, such as the femur of
the t-rex. The larger the bone, the more "insulation" the soft tissue
has from outside elements. The original source report for this article,
which came from Science magazine, gives several key phrases, such as
the "dense compact bone typical of therapods," and “dense
mineralization of dinosaur bone.” A large bone such as a therapod femur
would be the most likely source of soft tissue, as the larger bone
provides an opportunity for the outer bone to be sealed by
mineralization, entombing the inner contents and protecting them from
Third expectation...if the earth was young, then we would expect most,
if not all large dinosaur fossils to show evidences of soft
tissue...after all, according to young earth theory, large dinosaurs
from 200 million years ago died at the same time T-rex did, during the
flood of Noah. Thus, you should expect all large dinosaur bones to be
possible sources for soft tissue. However, this is not the
case. With this fossil, we have one sample of soft tissue, out of
millions of dinosaur bones that have been collected. Thus, this
young earth "expectation" is completely unfounded.
Carl Wieland ignores the stratigraphic location of the fossil.
According to the Science Magazine article, it was located "at the base
of the Hell Creek Formation, 8 m above the Fox Hills Sandstone."
The Hell Creek Formation is Late Cretaceous in age, and actually
crosses the K/T boundary, the extinction point of the dinosaurs, 65
million years ago. I would not expect a young earth theorist to
recognize the significance of this fact, since they believe the Flood
deposited all of these rock formation. However, it is clear from
stratigraphy that dinosaurs were not all killed by Noah's Flood. To
learn more, read "Dinosaur Evidences for an Old Earth."
What is even more stunning is that Carl Wieland ignores over half the
article, which compares pictures and data from the T-rex to pictures
and data from a fossilized Ostrich. The similarities are
stunning. More than anything, this one fossil of T-rex lends
support to the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
In response to this omission, three days later (28 March 05) Answers in
Genesis published another article addressing the Ostrich comparisons
(see below for link). The new author (Dr. David Menton) says this is
not the first time that soft tissue has been found, and he provides a
link back to the already disproven AiG report on T-rex blood cells. Dr.
Menton appears to bring up some valid arguments about Dr. Schweitzer’s
article, mainly that the comparisons of the structures of the T-Rex and
Ostrich would be common to most amphibians, reptiles, birds, or
mammals. The assumption made by Dr. Menton is that there is an unstated
conclusion that dinosaurs evolved into birds, and thus he is attempting
to discredit the similarities between the ostrich and T-Rex. However,
Dr. Schweitzer does not mention evolution at all in her article. She is
merely showing similar features between two organisms, which were
obtained in similar procedures when applied to two different creatures.
Dr. Schweitzer may be using the comparison for proof of dinosaur to
bird evolution, but it is more likely that she is merely showing a
modern example, for the sake of clarity of understanding. Dr. Menton
admits that he sees an unstated conclusion that "this similarity in
microscopic structure proves that dinosaurs and birds are closely
related through evolution." Nowhere does Dr. Schweitzer make this
In the end, the layman reading these articles must decide which
scientist to believe. Since Dr. Schweitzer has no religious motivations
for proving a young or old earth, hers is the more objective, or fair
and balanced approach, and in this case is a more reliable scientific
source than Dr. Menton.
The find of T-Rex soft tissue in no way supports a young earth.
In fact, when you consider the fact that we should find much more soft
tissue in all large dinosaur bones, it actually supports an old earth
even better! Neither article presents convincing information that
supports their cause.
Answers in Genesis Article -
Answers in Genesis Ostrich Article -
© 2006, Old Earth Ministries