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In this article the author explains that they found soft tissues inside of 68-million-year-old dinosaur fossils. How can that be possible? It was believed that soft tissues cannot last more than a million years and that DNA degrades even sooner.

Our findings challenged everything scientists thought they knew about the breakdown of cells and molecules. Test-tube studies of organic molecules indicated that proteins should not persist more than a million years or so; DNA had an even shorter life span.

What is the evidence that the fossils were real?

enter image description here

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migrated from skeptics.stackexchange.com Feb 12 '17 at 1:47

This question came from our site for scientific skepticism.

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    $\begingroup$ Uh, that link is to "An annotated list of links to further reading about dinosaur soft tissues" What is left to answer? $\endgroup$ – Oddthinking Feb 10 '17 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ In a nutshell the organic matter got encased in such a way that oxygen was limited at first and ultimately the casing materiel sealed the organic matter left completely off from oxygen. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 11 '17 at 6:33
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    $\begingroup$ This question seems more sutable for Biology.SE than here. $\endgroup$ – SIMEL Feb 11 '17 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW, you are smarter than scientists because they would never think of that. $\endgroup$ – Grasper Feb 11 '17 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Ilya Melamed, ok let's migrate $\endgroup$ – Grasper Feb 11 '17 at 12:57
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keratin and collagen are an incredibly tough molecules so if it is isolated from the environment (oxygen and bacteria) it could easily survive for that long. Not all proteins are equal some are very robust other very fragile. We have long known protein and carbohydrates can survive for incredible lengths of time under the right circumstances, amber is famous for it. Rapid deposition of minerals can produce a similar if less powerful result.

In this case the keratin was encapsulated by water deposited minerals that sealed it away from the outside environment. There are other examples as well, natural mummification can lead to some preservation in the form of biofilms and impressions. But the most dramatic are amber encased specimens. Amber is a quick forming and creates a perfect air seal.

here is a dinosaur tail preserved in amber.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ "The bone slice was from a dinosaur that a team from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., had recently uncovered—a Tyrannosaurus rex that died some 67 million years ago—and everyone knew organic material was far too delicate to persist for such a vast stretch of time. " it doesn't seem the sample was preserved in keratin. $\endgroup$ – Grasper Feb 13 '17 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ I think I found the answer livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html $\endgroup$ – Grasper Feb 13 '17 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ not preserved in keritin, MADE of keratin, I assumed you were referring to the discovery of beta keratin in dinosaurshttps://news.ncsu.edu/2016/11/moyer-claw/. In the case of the study you are referring to the material in question is collagen which is also very tough. It is the rapid mineralization of rhe fossil that seals the bone. $\endgroup$ – John Feb 13 '17 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ in the link I provided they talk about iron which creates formaldehyde and that can preserve tissue. It's just little funny to me how easily they can find the answer and the whole community takes it as solved. $\endgroup$ – Grasper Feb 13 '17 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ You don't understand what testing means, testing does not mean reproduce in a laboratory. Ask another question about it so someone can answer or try reading up on it, brynmawr.edu/geology/documents/scientificmethodCleland.pdf $\endgroup$ – John Feb 14 '17 at 17:22

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