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iDINO - Investigation of Dinosaur Intact Natural Osteo-tissue

New CRS Research Initiative

The Society is conducting a research initiative to study tissue found in dinosaur fossils.  Such fossils are dated by the standard geologic time scale as at least 60 million years old. In 2005, work was published showing evidence that non-fossilized tissue (e.g., red blood cells, bone cells, etc.) was found within the fossilized bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur. Such 2005, additional studies have documented even more soft tissue in so-called ancient fossils, including the detection of intact proteins and even nucleic acids. Such results directly challenge the entire evolutionary “millions of years” timeframe.  This timeframe is readily (and often uncritically) accepted by most scientists and even many claiming to be “creationists.”  

This ‘soft-tissue’ evidence has been publicized in several major newspapers and magazines, drawing much attention from both evolutionists and creationists.  How could fossils that are millions of years old still contain any detectable tissue or intact proteins?  All observed evidence of protein decay and degradation shows that these are fragile biomolecules that are readily degraded by numerous environmental conditions, including heat, pH changes, microbial activity, and ground radiation.  How are such fragile molecules still found in these so-called ancient fossils?

Evolutionists have offered a variety of responses ranging from challenging the validity of the studies to casual dismissal of their importance.  On the other hand, creationists have challenged that such findings contradict evolutionist timeframes, but fit well within a young earth timeframe.  In fact, even prior to the 2005 study, several studies (including a study by Mark Armitage published in CRSQ, 2001. Vol. 38, p. 61) suggested the presence of intact tissue within ancient specimens. Although initially ignored, these studies, along with all subsequent studies, add to the ever growing weight of evidence that fragile biomarkers are still present in specimens that should no longer contain such molecules. Either an unknown and almost miraculous process of preservation has occurred, or the standard geologic time scale has misdated these specimens.

Utilizing the electron microscope facility currently located at the Society’s Van Andel Creation Research Center (Chino Valley, AZ), CRS scientists are currently conducting an investigation of dinosaur intact natural osteo-tissue (iDINO).  The iDINO study has found intact and observable osteocytes (compact bone cells) within the supraorbital horn of a Triceratops.  Horn material from Triceratops horn has never been examined for the presence of any intact tissue. Thus, this work provides that first demonstration of intact tissue from the horn and increases the diversity of specimens with detectable tissue still remaining. Also visible within the bone matrix of the horn are small segments of blood vessels extending from the Haversian canals (with clear contrast between bone and vessels). This work has enabled the preparation and submission of a manuscript, which is scheduled for publication this Spring.

Work on the iDINO project continues.  Additional electron microscopy, along with possible protein detection is planned for the next phase of the study. These results provide very powerful evidence and a strong challenge to the evolutionary world-view.  Such findings could also draw wide-spread public attention to the quality of research done by creation scientists.  More extensive and detailed examination will provide even stronger evidence.  To this end, the Society continues to seek several individuals and churches willing to fund this project with either one time gifts or monthly donations. This funding will enable securing of samples, cost of analysis, labor, and microscope use and maintenance.  For more information contact us at (928)636-1153 or

Thin section of dinosaur soft tissue viewed by confocal microscopy. The red arrow points to an intact osteocyte cell with pseudopodia.

Members of the CRS iDINO team at a fossil excavation site near Hell Creek Formation, MT.

Partially excavated fossil of a Triceratops vertebrae.

iDINO team members in a region of Hell Creek Formation (MT) excavating a large Triceratops horn, which has subsequently yielded soft tissue and intact osteocyte cells.

Large Triceratops horn in final preparation for removal from sandstone.

Removal of large Triceratops horn from a site in Hell’s Creek Formation, MT.  The horn measured over 3 feet in length.


phone: 928-636-1153
6801 N. Hwy 89
Chino Valley, AZ 86323-9186 USA

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