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Food for thought from that paywalled soft dino tissue article in Science

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From the Science paper by Robert F. Service:

The challenges of fieldwork are minor compared with the storm of criticism she’s endured for the central claim of her work: that her team has recovered fragments of proteins from dinosaurs as old as 80 million years. The evidence, which she has laid out in a series of papers in Science and other journals, challenges traditional notions of what a fossil is: a stone replica of the original bone. If that “stone” includes proteins from the living animal, “I don’t know what the definition is anymore,” Schweitzer says. More important, being able to analyze intact dinosaur proteins would transform paleontology into a molecular science, much as ancient DNA research has transformed the study of our human ancestors.

Right. And Jurassic Park will live forever anyway in the summer reruns…

Dreaded Chilkoot Pass into the Yukon, 1897-98/Library and Archives Canada/C-5142

But it might also mean the fall of many heavily invested ideas before retirement or tenure have conveniently set in. Otherwise, why isn’t everyone out looking for tissue (cf Klondike 1897)? On the other hand, gold was highly negotiable in those days…

Service ably summarizes the discussion about the issues around methods and possible contaminants, then quotes,

After the JPR paper, some say they are puzzled by the persistent skepticism. “I don’t get it,” says Johan Lindgren, a dinosaur paleontologist from Lund University in Sweden, who has recently begun collaborating with Schweitzer. “It seems like there is a double standard,” with some researchers ignoring Schweitzer’s multiple lines of evidence while making their own bold claims with less backing. “She’s extremely careful not to overstate what she’s doing.”

Theodor agrees. “I do think cultural factors play into it,” she says, noting that few women hold senior positions in dinosaur paleontology. “I’m not saying the criticisms are off base, but they’re more vitriolic than she deserves.” She says Schweitzer should get enormous credit for pushing researchers to rethink their assumptions. “Even if she turns out to be wrong in some detail, she has stimulated a huge amount of work.” More.

Sooner or later, more such tissues will most likely be found, somewhat like the Neanderthal art bombshell (yeah, um, that explosion you heard in the background was a shoo-in establishmentarian’s thesis… )

<em>Teapot</em> Cobalt Blue Also, kudos to Schweitzer for not assaulting our ears with the all-too-familiar xx whine-whine.

Many of us invested in earplugs when Pussyhats for Science started marchin’, marchin’ earlier this year, wanting equality so long as they can also claim that objectivity is sexist, algebra is racist, and science should be sucked into whatever SJW riot is rolling cars downtown tonight. They are not the answer to anyone’s problems, not even their own. Meanwhile, there is still such a thing as the life of the mind, and it is nice to see some people still going for it.

Service’s article is worth paying for.

See also: Is Mark Armitage’s soft dinosaur tissue work a replication of Mary Schweitzer? If so…?

Is there some reason that paleontologists do NOT want soft dinosaur tissue?

Dinosaur found with preserved skin

and

Dinosaur found with preserved tail feathers, skin

16 Replies to “Food for thought from that paywalled soft dino tissue article in Science

  1. 1
    RodW says:

    But it might also mean the fall of many heavily invested ideas before retirement or tenure have conveniently set in.

    What are some examples of heavily invested ideas that might fall?

  2. 2
    News says:

    RodW at 1, how about the idea that such tissue could not survive?

  3. 3
    Latemarch says:

    What are some examples of heavily invested ideas that might fall?

    Deep time?

  4. 4
    RodW says:

    News

    I think that’s an assumption but not a heavily invested idea. If she provides enough evidence, and other labs duplicate it, everyone will accept it.

    Latemarch

    Yes, but that wouldn’t be overturned. Do you realize that Schweitzer along with Behe, Meyer and most if not all ID advocates accept the scientific age of the earth?

  5. 5
    ET says:

    RodW:

    Do you realize that Schweitzer along with Behe, Meyer and most if not all ID advocates accept the scientific age of the earth?

    Did you know that the scientific age of the earth depends upon the untestable assumption of a molten proto-earth with temps above 20,000 K? (high enough to melt all crystals in the aggregate debris)

  6. 6
    ET says:

    OK what if not all dinosaurs went extinct 65 MYA and some lived on? Then getting trapped in an ice-age glacier may bridge the remaining gap in time and preserve the tissue.

  7. 7
    RodW says:

    ET

    Yes, although I’m not sure where the 20,000 K came from. Assumptions about how the earth formed are testable.

  8. 8
    News says:

    ET at 6, didn’t something like that happen to Otzi?

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic....../hall-text

    Granted, he is only 5000 yrs old, but no one was expecting him, were they?

  9. 9
    ET says:

    News, I was playing devil’s advocate but yes, something like that. I forgot about him

  10. 10
    ET says:

    RodW:

    Yes, although I’m not sure where the 20,000 K came from. Assumptions about how the earth formed are testable.

    I’m not sure about the 20000 K as I was going from memory and not any reference. I just know the proto-earth had to be hot enough to completely melt all off the accretion material, including the crystals.
    How can we test the claim the earth was formed via numerous, successive cosmic collisions? Oh, that just happened to impart a very stable and very fast rotation? That part never made any sense to me. But that comes from spinning basketballs and Frisbees. With those any and all hits have to be just-so or the deal is done. I don’t see that happening with cosmic collisions coming from different angles.

  11. 11
    bb says:

    Mark Armitage found a triceratops at Hell Creek, Montana for the purpose of discovering soft tissue. He followed the same steps as Schweitzer and did indeed find lots of soft tissue. He published electron microscope pictures of dinosaur osteocytes in the journal Acta Histochemica. He also carbon-dated his samples and did what no one else in history has done: submitted dinosaur tissue to a medical lab for what is called a standard chem-20. I watched him give a presentation 2 years ago and it was incredible. The triceratops wasn’t 65 million years old. Closer to 22,000.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Latemarch says:

    RodW:

    Yes, but that wouldn’t be overturned. Do you realize that Schweitzer along with Behe, Meyer and most if not all ID advocates accept the scientific age of the earth?

    Argument from authority or consensus?
    A lot of brilliant people have, over the centuries, held to ideas later determined to be untrue.

    And why wouldn’t the finding of soft tissue overturn deep time. Are you really advocating that proteins and red blood cells hang around for 85MM years?

    AAAS Tries to Downplay Dinosaur Soft Tissue

  14. 14
    drc466 says:

    Food for thought: neither Mary Schweitzer nor Mark Armitage were pioneers in finding organic material in “millions of years old” fossils. Literally dozens of previous finds have been made – and not only made, but had published articles in peer-reviewed literature on them. However, since they cast doubt on the deep time paradigm absolutely necessary to evolutionary theory, most people (even those deeply vested in the Evolution/ID/Creation debate) don’t know about them, or if they do attempt to suppress or ignore them* (YEC’s excluded, obviously).

    For a decent comprehensive list, please refer to this page:
    Dinosaur Soft Tissue Finds.

    *I’ve made reference to this page multiple times. As yet, I’ve never had an evolutionist even attempt to respond, other than to mumble “bio-films” (disproven) or “iron-rich hemoglobin” (a million-year puddle of blood? right).

    Edit: I should say that Dr. Schweitzer actually probably is a pioneer, when it comes to dinos. She’s been working on this sort of thing since the 90’s. No disrespect is intended – while I disagree with her belief that she will eventually be able to reconcile deep-time with dino organic material, she has been one of the boldest and bravest to persist in her research despite rabid criticism and desperately unfair charges brought against her due to the anti-evolutionary conclusions her research supports.

  15. 15
    drc466 says:

    ET @6,

    To answer your question about “what if” dinos lived on (a good question), here’s the problem:
    While most people believe that radioactive dating is always used to date a fossil find, in general “key fossils” are used instead*. So, if a paleontologist finds a bunch of dinosaurs (key fossil), the site is automatically dated around 100mya – no need to run tests! Now, imagine that dinosaurs didn’t die out tens of millions of years ago. Suddenly, all those assumptions are no longer valid – all those dates go out the window. Furthermore, what if not only some, but many/most dino fossils have some organic material in them? Now evolutionists are really in trouble – there’s a whole storyline of what evolved from what in what order over what time period that gets trashed.

    So, for evolutionists – dinosaur fossils younger than 10’s of millions of years is an absolute no-no. Can’t be. Mustn’t be. The Evolutionary Faith will not allow. Schweitzer is a heretic, and must either come up with an apologetic consistent with the Gospel according to Darwin, or be excommunicated.

    *c.f. coelacanth.

  16. 16
    bb says:

    Thanks for the link to other soft tissue finds drc. Armitage refuted Schweitzer’s iron-rich preservation idea with an electron microscope.

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