Actual red blood cells in fossil bones from a Tyrannosaurus rex? With traces of the blood protein hemoglobin (which makes blood red and carries oxygen)? It sounds preposterous—to those who believe that these dinosaur remains are at least 65 million years old.
It is of course much less of a surprise to those who believe Genesis, in which case dinosaur remains are at most only a few thousand years old.
In a recent article,1 scientists from Montana State University, seemingly struggling to allow professional caution to restrain their obvious excitement at the findings, report on the evidence which seems to strongly suggest that traces of real blood from a T. rex have actually been found.
M. H. Schweitzer
These photos are of a later (2005) find by Schweitzer which produced soft tissue, in addition to strengthening the red blood cell identification—see Still Soft and Stretchy
Left: The flexible branching structures in the T. rex bone were justifiably identified as “blood vessels”. Soft tissues like blood vessels should not be there if the bones were 65 million years old.
Right: These microscopic structures were able to be squeezed out of some of the blood vessels, and can be seen to “look like cells” as the researchers said. So once again there is scope for Dr Schweitzer to ask the same question, “How could these cells last for 65 million years?”
The story starts with a beautifully preserved T. rex skeleton unearthed in the United States in 1990. When the bones were brought to the Montana State University’s lab, it was noticed that ‘some parts deep inside the long bone of the leg had not completely fossilized.’ To find unfossilized dinosaur bone is already an indication more consistent with a young age for the fossils (see More on fresh dino bone, below).
Let Mary Schweitzer, the scientist most involved with this find, take up the story of when her co-workers took turns looking through a microscope at a thin section of this T. rex bone, complete with blood vessel channels.
‘The lab filled with murmurs of amazement, for I had focused on something inside the vessels that none of us had ever noticed before: tiny round objects, translucent red with a dark center. Then a colleague took one look at them and shouted, “You’ve got red blood cells. You’ve got red blood cells!”’2
Schweitzer confronted her boss, famous paleontologist ‘Dinosaur’ Jack Horner, with her doubts about how these could really be blood cells. Horner suggested she try to prove they were not red blood cells, and she says, ‘So far, we haven’t been able to.’
Looking for dinosaur DNA in such a specimen was obviously tempting. However, fragments of DNA can be found almost everywhere—from fungi, bacteria, human fingerprints—and so it is hard to be sure that one has DNA from the specimen. The Montana team did find, along with DNA from fungi, insects and bacteria, unidentifiable DNA sequences, but could not say that these could not have been jumbled sequences from present-day organisms. However, the same problem would not be there for hemoglobin, the protein which makes blood red and carries oxygen, so they looked for this substance in the fossil bone.
To claim that bone could remain intact for millions of years without being fossilized (mineralized) stretches credibility. The report here of red blood cells in an unfossilized section of dinosaur bone is not the first time such bone has been found.
The evidence that hemoglobin has indeed survived in this dinosaur bone (which casts immense doubt upon the ‘millions of years’ idea) is, to date, as follows:
Evidence of hemoglobin, and the still-recognizable shapes of red blood cells, in unfossilized dinosaur bone is powerful testimony against the whole idea of dinosaurs living millions of years ago. It speaks volumes for the Bible’s account of a recent creation.