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Claim CC371:

Schweitzer et al. (1997a) found evidence of hemoglobin and red blood cells in an unfossilized Tyrannosaurus rex bone. This indicates that the dinosaur died rather recently, not millions of years ago, which in turn indicates that the earth is young.


Wieland, Carl, 1997 (Sep.-Nov.). Sensational dinosaur blood report. Creation 19(4): 42-43.
Ham, K., J. Sarfati and C. Wieland, 2000. The Revised and Expanded Answers Book. Green Forest AR: Master Books, pp. 246-247.


  1. Schweitzer et al. did not find hemoglobin or red blood cells. Rather, they found evidence of degraded hemoglobin fragments and structures that might represent altered blood remnants. They emphasizd repeatedly that even those results were tentative, that the chemicals and structures may be from geological processes and contamination (Schweitzer and Horner 1999; Schweitzer and Staedter 1997; Schweitzer et al. 1997a, 1997b). The bone is exceptionally well preserved, so much so that it may contain some organic material from the original dinosaur, but the preservation should not be exaggerated.

  2. The bone that Schweitzer and her colleagues studied was fossilized, but it was not altered by "permineralization or other diagenetic effects" (Schweitzer et al. 1997b). Permineralization is the filling of the bone's open parts with minerals; diagenetic effects include alterations like cracking. Schweitzer commented that the bone was "not completely fossilized" (Schweitzer and Staedter 1997, 35), but lack of permineralization does not mean unfossilized.

  3. An ancient age of the bone is supported by the (nonradiometric) amino racemization dating technique.

  4. Soft tissues have been found on fossils tens of thousands of years old, and DNA has been recovered from samples more than 300,000 years old (Stokstad 2003; Willerslev et al. 2003). If dinosaur fossils were as young as creationists claim, recovering DNA and non-bone tissues from them should be routine enough that it would not be news.


Hurd, Gary S., 2004. Dino-blood and the young earth. or


  1. Schweitzer, Mary H., Mark Marshall, Keith Carron, D. Scott Bohle, Scott C. Busse, Ernst V. Arnold, Darlene Barnard, J. R. Horner, and Jean R. Starkey, 1997a. Heme compounds in dinosaur trabecular bone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 94: 6291-6296.
  2. Schweitzer, M. H., C. Johnson, T. G. Zocco, J. H. Horner and J. R. Starkey, 1997b. Preservation of biomolecules in cancellous bone of Tyrannosaurus rex. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 17(2): 349-359.
  3. Schweitzer, M. and T. Staedter, 1997. The real Jurassic Park. Earth, June, pp. 55-57.
  4. Schweitzer, Mary Higby and John R. Horner, 1999. Intrasvascular microstructures in trabecular bone tissues of Tyrannosaurus rex. Annales de Paléontologie 85(3): 179-192.
  5. Stokstad, Erik. 2003. Ancient DNA pulled from soil. Science 300: 407.
  6. Willerslev, E. et al. 2003. Diverse plant and animal genetic records from Holocene and Pleistocene sediments. Science 300: 791-795.

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created 2003-11-7, modified 2005-4-24