Bloody Mosquito Redux

Culiseta annulataIn mid-October I started a list in a google spreadsheet of “Articles of Interest.” It’s already up to 162 entries right now, and contains news articles and blog posts from a wide variety of sources that I might need to find again. The news stories behind a couple of recent ICR articles – on Dmanisi and the ancient galaxy from Monday – feature, as do many other topics which are likely to come up. The ICR tends to operate on a time delay of a few weeks, so looking forwards in the seven days following the galaxy story we have new information on Titan’s lakes; some abiogensis research; better dating for Homo (erectus?*) rudolfensis; and also that silly “Junk DNA face” story. Looking back at things they seem to have missed, meanwhile, turns up items like a story about blue straggler stars, a topic about which Brian Thomas has previously made noises, and an interesting system of extrasolar planets.

My point here is that there is no shortage of fresh science news of the kind the ICR likes to talk about. And yet for the second time in as many weeks Brian Thomas has decided to revisit an older story in order to better make a fool of himself. For Wednesday we have Questionable Dating of Bloody Mosquito Fossil – my previous post on this can be found here. Continue reading

Not Quite Jurassic Park

Culiseta annulataWe return once more to “soft tissues” (and other organic molecules) with Brian Thomas’ new article, Bloody Mosquito Fossil Supports Recent Creation. You’ve probably heard of this already: a fossil mosquito, found in an oil shale deposit (and not amber, as you might have expected), appears to contain blood. Or something like that, anyway. Thomas opens his article:

Scientists recently found blood remnants in a mosquito fossil trapped in a supposed 46-million-year-old rock. Could blood really last that long?

Already, we have a problem. We’re not talking about “blood” here, but “remnants” thereof. This is a key difference: the soft tissue argument put most simply is the claim that various organic molecules and/or structures found in fossils would have turned to dust if they really were as old as claimed (so therefore they are much younger). You cannot very well make this argument if what you are pointing to is the selfsame dust that you claim should be there if the fossils were old. The key issue then is what is actually in this fossil, and we should avoid being distracted by how long we think liquid, cell-containing red blood could last. Continue reading