Archive of items from Evidence News

Triceratops had complex teeth, according to a report in ScienceDaily 5 June 2015 and Science Advances doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500055. A team of palaeontologists and engineers have studied the teeth of Triceratops and found they are more complex than living reptiles and mammals. Living reptiles have fairly simple teeth that are useful for grasping, and then coarsely slicing and crushing their food, but their teeth do not come together in a way that enables the modern reptile to chew its food. Furthermore, reptile teeth have only two layers, consisting of a hard enamel layer surrounding a softer orthodentine core.

The most complex mammal teeth are those of herbivorous mammals. These have four layers, (enamel, orthodentine, secondary dentine, and coronal cementum), and the teeth self-wear as they grind on one another as the animal chews, producing complex cutting and shredding surfaces. The research team found Triceratops teeth are even more complex, being made up of five layers (enamel, hard mantle dentine, orthodentine, vasodentine, and coronalcementum).

The researchers then studied the way Triceratops teeth wore and developed a 3D wear model to work out how such teeth would respond to chewing. They concluded that Triceratops teeth would wear in way that produced a complex surface with a recessed area in the middle, which served to reduce friction during biting and make chewing more efficient. This enabled the animal to eat lots of different fibrous plants.

One of the scientists Gregory Erickson, commented: “It’s just been assumed that dinosaurs didn’t do things like mammals, but in some ways, they're actually more complex”.

Link: ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Finding complex teeth in a reptile goes against the usual evolutionary story of reptiles with simple teeth evolving into mammals with complex teeth. It also is great evidence that Triceratops is unrelated to other Dino Kinds. After all, evolution by chance cannot explain how Triceratops came to have five-layered teeth, when other reptiles only have two. Trying to eat fibrous plant material will not produce the extra tooth tissues needed to build the complex teeth, nor reshape and realign them so that they grind on one another.

These complex teeth really show us that Triceratops was well designed for a steady diet of fibrous plants that needed a lot of chewing. This makes perfect sense if both Triceratops and the plants were designed and made by the same Creator, who made animals and plants fully functional, designed to work from the beginning of creation, and certainly supports the thesis that the big horny triceratops used its massive horns to push down trees for food and its heavy duty beak to tear them up before quietly chewing them up with its well-designed teeth. (Ref. dinosaurs, diet, histology)

Evidence News vol.15, No. 10
26 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

Dino fibres and blood cells found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) news, BBC News 9June 2015, ABC News 10 June 2015, and Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms8352. A group of scientists led by materials scientist Sergio Bertazzo and palaeontologist Susannah Maidment, of Imperial College London, have examined specimens of dinosaur bone from the collection in the Natural History Museum London and have found what appear to be protein fibres and red blood cells.

The researchers used a focussed ion beam to cut into the specimens, giving them a pristine surface to examine with an electron microscope and take samples for chemical analysis using a mass spectrometer. The microscopic study revealed fibres that look like collagen, a tough fibrous protein found in bone, tendons, joint capsules and other connective tissues. The researchers also found oval structures that looked like red blood cells. The mass spectrometer analysis of the fibres showed up amino acid fragments, consistent with those found in collagen. Analysis of the cell-like objects was similar to that of blood.

This is not the first time remains of fibres and blood cells have been found in dinosaur bones, but the previous finds were in exceptionally well preserved specimens. According to Susannah Maidment, the Natural History Museum specimens were “very scrappy, individual broken bones” that were not particularly well preserved. She went on to say: “If you’re finding soft tissues in these kinds of fossils, maybe this kind of preservation might be more common than we realised, and might even be the norm”.

The bones are estimated as being 75 million years old, and have been in the museum collection for over a hundred years. The research team concluded: “Using advanced material characterization approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals”.

Links: BBC, Science, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Let’s be honest! The reason blood cells and protein fibres have not been found in dinosaur bones until recently is because no-one bothered to look for them, and the reason is simple. All present day observations show that proteins and cells break down in a lot less time than one million years, let alone the75 million years these specimens are believed to be. However, now that they have been found, evolutionary scientists are faced with a problem: Do they admit the presence of cells and proteins is evidence that these bones are not that old? Sadly, as the statement from these researchers indicates, scientists would rather believe by faith in some unknown mechanism that goes against our all known observations of how dead cells and proteins decay in order to prop up their belief, also held by faith, in millions of years. (Ref. dinosaurs, biochemistry, chemistry, ages)

For more information of dinosaur cells and tissues see the question: Tissue and cells in dinosaur bones just shows they last a long time. Why make a big thing of it? Answer here.

Evidence News vol.15, No. 10
26 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

What, no feathers?complain dino scientists about the new Jurassic World movie, according to reports in BBC Newsbeat and Telegraph UK 12 June 2015. Palaeontologists have criticised makers of the new dinosaur movie for portraying their dinosaurs with the same scaly skin as in the original Jurassic Park movie made in 1993, rather than according to recent reconstructions of feathered dinosaurs.

Gareth Dyke, a palaeontologist from the University of Southampton, commented: “There are a lot of people criticising the science behind Jurassic World. And there are a number of things that people are complaining about, including, and most importantly, the fact that the raptors, velociraptor and the other theropod dinosaurs have been reconstructed by the people that made the movie without feathers, which we know is not correct”.

Darren Naish, author of The Great Dinosaur Discoveries, commented: “Our hopes came crashing down with the tweeting of two words from Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow – ‘no feathers’. Never mind all those fossils that demonstrate the presence of feathering in all birdlike dinosaurs, or the bony feather attachment knobs present on the arm of velociraptor. Judging from the trailers, Jurassic World has opted to stick with scaly-skinned raptors, scientific advancement be damned”.

The film makers did consult with a dinosaur expert, Jack Horner from Montana State University, who said that the dinosaurs were portrayed with reptilian skin because that is how they were portrayed in the original movie. He explained: “We made the best dinosaurs we could at that time. We can’t say that we’re going to have feathered dinosaurs brought back now. We need to keep the consistency. Jurassic Park one, two, three and four are all pieces of one story. And so, unfortunately we can’t change the way the dinosaurs look”.

The movie’s director has also reminded scientists and general public alike that the film is “not a documentary”.

Links: BBC, Telegraph.

Editorial Comment: Can you imagine it - a movie about big scary monsters covered in cute fuzz and sporting a couple of proto feathers on their arms. However, the movie is probably at its most accurate on this ‘feathery’ aspect of dinosaurs, even if it upsets the dino-bird theorists with their feathered imaginations.

Let us be blunt! The so-called feathers and “protofeathers” found with some dinosaur fossils are provably just fibres, and are nothing like bird feathers. See our reports: T rex Ancestor Had “Protofeathers” and New Type of Dinosaur Feather. For an explanation of Darren Naish’s claim about “bony feather attachment knobs” see our report More Dinosaur Feather Evidence.

For the opinion of a real fossil bird expert see our report Dinosaur feathers or fibres? For a reminder that not all 21st century dinosaurs have feathers see Featherless Dinosaur Surprise.

There are a few odd looking creatures in the fossil record, that do have feathers but we need to ask the question: Are these really dinosaurs? For an answer to this see the question: Don’t feathered dinosaurs prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs? Answer here.

For further analysis of the claims about dinosaurs evolving into birds see the question: Latest finds should convince you dinosaurs evolved into birds. What’s stopping you? Answer here.

P.S. The film director is correct – if you are making a work of fiction you are entitled to use artistic license to portray any fictional characters however you like for your ‘created’ story. (Ref. feathers, scales, reptiles, skin)

Evidence News vol.15, No. 10
26 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

Downsizing Dreadnought reported in Science Shots and ScienceDaily, 9 June 2015 and Biology Letters 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0215. In 2014 an enormous sauropod dinosaur was found in Patagonia in South America. There were enough bones preserved for the scientists to estimate the length of this huge long-necked creature as 26 metres, making it the largest ever found. Because of its large size it was given the name Dreadnoughtus.

To get an estimate of its weight they used a method based on the size of its limb bones, and their initial estimate was a massive 59.3 tonnes. This seemed out of proportion for the ratio of soft tissue to bone based on studies of living quadrupeds, so a team of scientists from several British universities have now used a three-dimensional skeletal modelling technique that involves building up the mass of skin, muscle, and other tissue around the whole skeleton. Their new estimate indicates a maximum of 38 tonnes.

Karl Bates of University of Liverpool commented: “Estimatingthe body mass of an extinct animal from approximately 77 million years ago of this size from only itsfossilised bones is extremely challenging and relies on the availability of certain data from living animalsand modelling techniques.”. He went on to explain, “Using digital modelling and a dataset that took inspecies, alive and dead, we were able to see that the creature couldn’t be as large as originally estimated”.

Links: Science Shots

Editorial Comment: Estimating the body mass of an extinct animal certainly is challenging, irrespective of how old you believe it to be, especially when the actual evidence about most dinosaurs consists only of bones, skin impressions and footprints. In such cases everything else about dinosaurs is based on assumptions, manmade theories and computer modelling. Even with this significant downsize, there is enough real data in this case to show that Dreadnoughtus was still an incredibly large beast.

An animal this size would not be able to survive on land in today’s conditions, and it serves as a reminder that the world has gone a long way downhill since the original very good world that God made, where animals could grow to very large sizes and be sustained by a very good environment.

Remember this estimation process when you see all those impressive, apparently living creatures in movies and documentaries. They are mostly creative imagination, and are wonderful evidence that man was made in the image of the Creator God as we love to create as well.

P.S. This means the size and weight record still belongs to a living creature which logs in at 30 metres (98ft) in length and 180 tonnes – the Blue Whale. (Ref. sauropods, dinosaurs, computer modelling.

Evidence News vol.15, No. 10
26 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

Featherless dinosaur surprises scientists, according to a report in Nature, vol. 440, p329, 16 March 2006. Palaeontologists have found an exquisitely preserved small dinosaur in Upper Jurassic limestone dated as 151 million years old. The creature is about 75 cm long and has been named Juravenator starki after the Jura mountains of Bavaria in Germany, where it was found, and after the Stark family who own the quarry site.

The tail region of the dinosaur has well preserved detailed imprints of the animal’s skin and the scientists who studied it were surprised that it had typical reptilian scales, not the filamentous proto-feathers found on some other dinosaurs of similar type and evolutionary age.

The Nature editor’s summary of the research article comments: "The new find is as well preserved as Archaeopteryx but, surprisingly, it shows absolutely no sign of feathery integument, suggesting that the evolution history of feathers in dinosaurs is a more complex tale than was thought."

They also found some impressions of soft tissue fibres which they described: "The remaining soft tissue is represented by a series of fibres central to the haemal arches of the 10th to 14th caudals and parallel to the axis of the tail. These fibres probably represent tendons of the hypaxial musculature and ligaments of the tail, as interpreted for similar soft parts associated with the skeleton of Scipionyx, although they could also correspond to bundles of subcutaneous collagen fibres."

Editorial Comment: We are not at all surprised this dinosaur showed no sign of having feathers. In fact no dinosaur has been found that has real feathers. Some have been found with filaments associated with their skin impression. The comment about collagen fibres reminds us of bird expert Alan Feduccia statement about the fibrous imprints associated with some dinosaur fossils. Feduccia said: "Collagen is a scleroprotein, the chief structural protein of the connective tissue layer of skin. Naturally, because of its low solubility in water and its organization as tough, inelastic fiber networks, we would expect it to be preserved occasionally from flayed skin during the fossilization process." (See Dinosaur Feather or Fibres? Evidence News, 2 Nov 2005.)

What he means is that collagen is a tough stringy substance and would be preserved longer than the other tissue components that normally hold collagen fibres tightly together in the skin. Therefore, in partially decomposed skin the collagen fibres would splay out so they looked like filaments projecting out from the skin but they were never feathers. We suspect that the fossil described above was preserved too rapidly for its skin to partially decompose and allow the collagen fibres to splay out.

The new dinosaur’s name also reminds us that names like Jurassic do not have anything to do with millions of years. It was the name applied to all rocks that looked similar to the rocks in the Jura mountains, i.e. the name was meant to be a shorthand description of where the rocks were originally studied, and what they looked like, not how old they were. (Ref. fossilisation, preservation)

Evidence News 12 April 2006