Neatly dressed in blue Capri pants and a sleeveless top, long hair flowing over her bare shoulders, Mary Schweitzer sits at a microscope in a dim lab, her face lit only by a glowing computer screen showing a network of thin, branching vessels. From a dinosaur. It was big news indeed last year when Schweitzer announced she had discovered blood vessels and structures that looked like whole cells inside that T. The finding amazed colleagues, who had never imagined that even a trace of still-soft dinosaur tissue could survive. After all, as any textbook will tell you, when an animal dies, soft tissues such as blood vessels, muscle and skin decay and disappear over time, while hard tissues like bone may gradually acquire minerals from the environment and become fossils. Schweitzer, one of the first scientists to use the tools of modern cell biology to study dinosaurs, has upended the conventional wisdom by showing that some rock-hard fossils tens of millions of years old may have remnants of soft tissues hidden away in their interiors.
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Dating Dinosaur Fossils
CARBON 14 DATING DINOSAUR BONES AND OTHER FOSSILS
To know if carbon dating is accurate, we would have to know how much carbon was in the atmosphere in the beginning, and also how long it has been increasing, or decreasing. Since no one was there, no one knows for sure. It's like trying to figure out how long a candle has been burning, without knowing the rate at which it burns, or its original size. Living penguins have been carbon dated and the results said that they had died 8, years ago!
How Do Scientists Determine the Age of Dinosaur Bones?
This helps us to understand how that species fits into the evolutionary tree of change; when did they first appear and when did the last of their kind walk this Earth? Radiometric dating involves exploiting the radioactive decay of unstable atoms naturally present in the structure of bones and rocks. In old dinosaur bones, the material is buried under layers upon layers of sediment under high pressure.
Carbondated dinosaur bones are less than 40, years old. Researchers have found a reason for the puzzling survival of soft tissue and collagen in dinosaur bones - the bones are younger than anyone ever guessed. Carbon C dating of multiple samples of bone from 8 dinosaurs found in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana revealed that they are only 22, to 39, years old.