Dinosaur proteins found, according to articles in Science, vol. 324, p626 and ScienceDaily 1 May 2009, and Fossil Science 3 May 2009. A team of researchers led by Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina University have analysed material extracted from a hadrosaur bone that had been deeply buried in sandstone. The researchers were very careful to protect the bone from outside contamination and then used advance chemical analysis techniques to see if there was any protein remaining inside the bone. The research team found fragments of collagen, a tough fibrous protein found in bones, skin and connective tissues, and laminin, a fine meshwork-like protein that helps hold cells and other tissue structures together. They also found structures resembling bone cells and blood vessels.

Chemical analysis of the collagen showed it contained hydroxyproline – an amino acid that is not made by microbes, indicating the protein came from the bone, not from contamination of the sample. Schweitzer had found similar collagen fragments in a T rex bone, but this discovery was met with much scepticism because dinosaur bones are dated as being millions of years old and observed rates of protein degradation indicate that even the toughest proteins have broken down within 100,000 years.

The hadrosaur bone was dated as being 80 million years old. The researchers concluded: “The most parsimonious explanation, thus far unfalsified, is that original molecules persist in some Cretaceous dinosaur fossils. Still unknown is the chemistry behind such preservation.”

ScienceDaily, Fossil Science

Editorial Comment: There is a simpler explanation that is more in accordance with the actual facts concerning observed protein break down rates – i.e. the fossils are not that old which would also mean there is no need to postulate an entirely ad hoc protein anti-aging chemistry. But because the researchers have a strong belief that the millions of years are fact, they have to argue that any observed degradation rate of proteins must be put aside to accommodate their believed vast time spans. It’s a good example of what acceptance of evolution does to otherwise intelligent people. Of course to accept that the proteins haven’t been there a long time would fit with the Biblical history of the world, which indicates dinosaurs were buried at most thousands, rather than millions of years ago. (Ref. time, biochemistry, palaeontology)

Evidence News, 5 August 2009