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Unfossilized dinosaur bone

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Unfossilized (or unmineralized) dinosaur bones have been found at various locations in Canada and Northern Alaska. Unfossilized or carbonized wood has also been found at various other locations in strata associated with dinosaurs, or even (supposedly) "older" strata. Both the dinosaur and woody materials have been dated by Carbon-14, and the dates obtained are between 9,800 and 50,000 years.

Soft Tissue

Dinosaur soft tissue has been found in various types of dinosaurs and from locations around the world. Original, endogenous, biological material including actual soft tissue has been found in bones from T. rex, hadrosaur, mosasaur (an extinct marine reptile), triceratops, etc. Original biological residue, although no longer in its original tissue matrix, has also been found in archaeopteryx. These observations, along with the significant quantities of Carbon 14 found in soft-tissue dinosaur bones and in typical dinosaur bones, indicate that dinosaurs did not go extinct millions of years ago.

Dinosaur soft tissue would only be preserved in specimens (i.e. bones) that were either not mineralized — like ordinary beef or chicken bones, those that are partially mineralized, or those that are mineralized but still retain their original organic material. In other words, in some cases where bones or wood appear to be completely "fossilized", or "mineralized", if the minerals are leached out of the wood or bones, what is left is the original (now demineralized) organic remains. John W. Dawson did this with wood that is said to be over 300 million years old, and what was left behind was a piece of wood that could be flexed or burnt in a fire. See the, "Organic Material Intact" section of a paper called, The "Fossil Forests" of Nova Scotia [1].

Journal Reports

Many scientific papers have reported discovery of dinosaur soft tissue, including:

  • "Preservation of bone collagen from the late Cretaceous period studied by immunological techniques and atomic force microscopy" published in 2005 in Langmuir: A Journal of the American Chemical Society[1].
  • "Protein sequences from mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex revealed by mass spectrometry" published in 2007 in Science[2].
  • "Soft tissue and cellular preservation in vertebrate skeletal elements from the Cretaceous to the present" published in 2007 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences[3].
  • "Analyses of soft tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex suggest the presence of protein" published in 2007 in Science[4].
  • "Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis" published in 2009 in Science[5].
  • "Archaeopteryx feathers and bone chemistry fully revealed via synchrotron imaging" published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences[6].
  • "Influence of microbial biofilms on the preservation of primary soft tissue in fossil and extant archosaurs" published in 2010 in PLoS One[7].
  • "Microspectroscopic evidence of cretaceous bone proteins" published in 2011 by PLoS One[8].
  • "Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival" published in 2011 by PLoS One[9].
  • "New evidence on the colour and nature of the isolated Archaeopteryx feather" published in 2012 by Nature[10].

The Rate of Organic Decay

According to older data, DNA isn't suppose to last any longer then 10,000 years. (Shreeve, James, "The Dating Game," Discover, Sept. 1992, p. 78;). Assuming the best conditions, organic material can't last very long, for example collagen. Here is a chart of collagen decay data.

Degrees °C years
20°C 15,000
10°C 180,000
0°C 2.7 million

A 1993 paper published in the journal Nature stated that if water was the sole mechanism of decay, DNA could not last longer then 50,000 years. Also, even without water and oxygen, background radiation would erase the information in the DNA. (Lindahl, T., ‘Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA’, Nature 362(6422):709–715, 1993)

Additional information


  1. Langmuir 2005 21(8), pp. 3584-3590
  2. Science 13 April 2007, 316(5822), pp. 280-285
  3. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 27 January 2007, 274(1607), pp. 183–197
  4. Science 13 April 2007, 316(5822), pp. 277-80.
  5. Science 1 May 2009, 324(5927), pp. 626-631
  6. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 18 May 2010, 107(20), pp. 9060–9065
  7. PLoS One 12 October 2010, 5(10), e13334.
  8. PLoS One 29 April 2011, 6(4), e19445
  9. PLoS One 8 June 2011, 6(6), e20381
  10. Nature 24 January 2012, 3(637), pp. 1-6