Dinosaur Soft Tissue

Last year the scientific media was buzzing with the news of the possible recovery of soft tissue from fossilised dinosaur bones. Leon ran across an old MS-NBC story about it and that made me wonder if there had been any developments, so I went searching and found this rather good story in the Smithsonian Magazine from May 2006 with heaps of information.

Most intriguingly it would appear that this wasn’t a one off:

Schweitzer and Wittmeyer have now found probable blood vessels, bone-building cells and connective tissue in another T. rex, in a theropod from Argentina and in a 300,000-year-old woolly mammoth fossil. Schweitzer’s work is “showing us we really don’t understand decay,” Holtz says. “There’s a lot of really basic stuff in nature that people just make assumptions about.”

Unfortunately the Young Earth Creationists have tried to hijack Schweitzer’s work (herself a committed Christian), claiming that the bones can’t be that old.

This drives Schweitzer crazy. Geologists have established that the Hell Creek Formation, where B. rex was found, is 68 million years old, and so are the bones buried in it. She’s horrified that some Christians accuse her of hiding the true meaning of her data. “They treat you really bad,” she says. “They twist your words and they manipulate your data.”