Soft Tissue Fossils

7 May 2019

Robert has sent in a number of links recently. This one involves the discovery of amino acids preserved in amber, apparently with an origin in feathers - see https://crev.info/2019/05/amino-acids-amber/ ... where the blog author has an ongoing theme on soft tissue preservation. He thinks it proves fossilisation took place much more recently than the uniformitarian timescale allows. However, transferring millions of years into a few thousand years is not acceptable to most people, either - but in the process he is airing problems the uniformitarians like to shovel under the carpet. I'm not at all sure what we should take from this post but in a catastrophist scenario amber may be laid down during a tree ripping up event (for example) and insects and small animals came into contact with the sap (that fossilised as amber). In the uniformitarian scenario the insects got stuck in sap leaking from living trees - and that is the difference. The fossilisation process is assumed to have occurred afterwards - over a period of time. In the catastrophist scenario it would have been instant. I don't personally see any reason why amber could not preserve amino acids over a long period of time - but in a catastrophist scenario the timescale may well indeed have been much less than in the uniformitarian model (as it is basically a model promulgated from theory rather than a fact). However, to reduce the timescale to thousands of years appears to be over hopeful on the part of the blog author - but never mind, he is always interesting to read. The whole issue of soft tissue preservation is open to speculation as on a visit to the Steve Etches Collection (a fossil museum in Kimmeridge in Dorset), last year, there was a fossilised dragon fly wing (see image below). It had been chipped out of the Kimmeridge shale which forms long shelfs in the bay at Kimmeridge (below the cliffs). In this case the dragon fly wing was not preserved in amber but in mud (that became a hard shale deposit). To find something as fragile as an insect wing preserved in mud from the Jurassic era says a lot about the fossil hunter (keen eyes and good technique at extraction) but also speaks volumes about how it came to be preserved - almost certainly in an extremely quick fashion.

  ... which is an image of the wing and ammonite eggs (the small white bits at the bottom). Now, the standard interpretation would be they were preserved in a watery mud sediment in a quite normal sort of way., without the help of a catastrophic event (volcano, earthquake, torrential rain and flooding etc). One must believe what one wishes to believe and just as the blog author, above, is steeped in the Bible, so too are many uniformitarians steeped in what they learnt at school or university. Is there any difference between the two positions - apart from the timescale each assumes is correct.

See also www.theetchescollection.org ... and the https://jurassiccoast.org/discovering/the-etches-collection/