Is there some reason that paleontologists do NOT want soft dinosaur tissue?
|September 14, 2017||Posted by News under Cell biology, Evolution, Intelligent Design|
From Robert F. Service at Science:
For the last 20 years, Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, has amassed a wealth of evidence that she’s isolated protein fragments from dinosaurs as much as 80 million years old. That bucks the conventional wisdom among paleontologists who argue that proteins, which are made of chains of amino acids, can’t survive more than 1 million years or so. So far, no group other than Schweitzer and her collaborators has managed to replicate the findings. She contends that’s because others don’t follow her methods. If Schweitzer is right and outside researchers eventually do confirm her findings, it could transform dinosaur paleontology into a molecular science. That, in turn, could help researchers answer long-standing questions, such as whether dinosaurs were warm- or cold-blooded, and work out the dinosaur family tree. (paywall) More.
Meanwhile, there’s the case of creationist Mark Armitage who was fired after a similar finding:
In May 2012, Mark Armitage made a discovery that he had dreamed of for years. While digging in Montana, he uncovered one of the largest triceratops horns ever found in the Hell Creek Formation, a legendary stack of fossil-bearing rocks that date to the last days of the dinosaurs. Armitage drove the horn back home to Los Angeles, California, where his microscopic examination revealed that it contained not only fossilized bone but also preserved layers of soft tissue. “They were brown, stretchy sheets. I was shocked to see anything that was that pliable,” he says.
In February 2013, he published his findings in Acta Histochemica, a journal of cell and tissue research (M. H. Armitage and K. L. Anderson Acta Histochem. 115, 603–608; 2013). Two weeks later, he was fired from his job at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he managed the biology department’s electron and confocal microscopy suite.
Never mind the age of the planet just now: Any chance that soft tissue would blow a bunch of tenure track research out of the water in these hard academic times?
Armitage’s case was recently settled for an undisclosed sum. After “one university official shouted at him, ‘We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!’”, one rather hopes it’s enough cash to finance further research. Leaving it all to the ‘crats, boffins, and faculty lounge lizards is beginning to sound suspicious at this point.
See also: Developing story: Young Earth creationist microscopist, fired in wake of finding soft tissue from dinosaurs, sues
Dinosaur found with preserved skin
Dinosaur found with preserved tail feathers, skin