WND Puffs Creationist Take on Dinosaur Research

From WorldNetDaily:

Dinosaur blood extracted from bone

Collagen, hemoglobin, elastin, laminin and cell-like structures resembling blood and bone cells have been found in a dinosaur bone scientists still claim is 80 million years old, according to a report in Science magazine today.

Paleontologist Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina State University first claimed to have isolated soft tissues and collagen from a Tyrannosaurus rex leg bone several years ago.

…Young earth proponents see something entirely different in the findings. As one creationist noted: “There’s no way this blood could be 80 million years old. The evolutionists are just saying so because they cannot bear the thought of recent dinosaurs causing their millions of years scenario to come crashing down. Without the millions of years, Darwinism is dead, dead, dead.”

This, of course, is also WND editor Joseph Farah’s perspective: Farah rejects evolutionary biology, and he has in the past promoted a scurrilous anti-science film suggesting that evolutionary biology caused the Holocaust.

It must be annoying for scientists that whenever an advance or interesting discovery is made, opportunists who played part in the enterprise seek hijack journalistic interest with a crackpot interpretation which they then smugly suggest the scientists won’t admit simply because of ideological bias.

The paper itself – “Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis“, of which Schweitzer is lead author with a number of collaborators – was published in Science; the abstract and other resources can be seen on open access here. There is no evidence that Farah or his unnamed creationist have read the piece, or would even be able to comprehend it.

A serious article on the paper can be seen in Nature. It tells us:

…In 2006, Schweitzer and her colleagues found a skeleton from the hadrosaur Brachylophosaurus canadensis. The next year, the team returned to the field, removed about seven metres of earth, and extracted a femur still encased in sandstone. That was important, [Phillip Lars] Manning says, because “structural proteins like collagen are locked in the mineral lattice in the bone”. This serves like “a strait-jacket for the collagen”, he says.

…Schweitzer believes the methods her team used to extract and analyse the hadrosaur under sterile conditions may help to usher in a new era of paleontological field work — one where specimen scrutiny uses sterile techniques like a crime scene investigation.

One Creationist who claims to have some “recent” dinosaur bones is Buddy Davis. Rather than subject his findings to the kind of complex scientific tests that Schweitzer and her colleagues undertook, Davis has been content merely to write a popular paperback and to hawk his paradigm-shattering discovery around church meetings.