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Scientist dismissed after soft tissue found on dinosaur fossil


A microscope scientist working for California State University has been fired following the discovery that a Triceratops horn still contained soft tissue complete with bone cells “that look alive”, according to a report in CBS Los Angeles. The scientist, whose analysis of the Triceratops horn was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, is also an evangelical creationist, and claimed that the finding supports the view that Earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs roamed the planet around 4,000 years ago. While the university claims the scientist, Mark Armitage, was fired for allowing his religion to interfere with his work, Armitage is suing the University for wrongful dismissal on the basis of violation to freedom of speech and academic freedom. 

Mark Armitage, a published scientist of over 30 years, was working at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montanaa when he discovered one of the largest Triceratops horns ever unearthed at the site. According to conventional perspectives, the Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous dinosaur that first appeared in the late Cretaceous period, about 68 million years ago in what is now North America, and became extinct around 66 million years ago.

Example of a Triceratops horn

Example of a Triceratops horn. Photo source.

Armitage studied the fossil in the California State University lab using a high-powered miscroscope and was stunned to find soft tissue complete with bone cells.  According to Armitage, the preservation of such cells is a scientific impossibility if the dinosaur really walked the Earth over 66 million years ago. On this basis, he felt it was not unreasonable to open discussion with colleagues and students about the implications of such a finding being that the creationist perspective is correct and that dinosaurs existed much later than mainstream science maintains. The results of Armitage’s analysis of the soft tissue was eventually published in July 2013 in the journal Acta Histochemica. Nevertheless, Armitage was fired from the University of California, which he is now fighting in court.

“Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal,” said Attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute. “But doing so in an attempt to silence scientific speech at a public university is even more alarming. This should be a wakeup call and warning to the entire world of academia.”

While numerous examples of suppression of ‘academic freedom’ can be cited in which scientists have been discriminated against for presenting views that conflict with mainstream perspectives, Armitage made the ‘unscientific’ mistake of assuming that the dinosaur must be only several thousand years old simply because the process in which the cells were preserved was not understood by him.

In fact, the finding of the soft tissue is not the first of its kind.  Several ground-breaking discoveries in the last decade have revealed preserved soft tissue on dinosaur remains, such as the recent finding of 68-milion-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex. However, Mary Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University, who headed up the research on the T. rex remains, explained that the soft tissue was able to be preserved by iron in the dinosaur’s body, which preserved the tissue before it could decay.

The legal case surrounding Armitage’s dismissal opens up many important questions about academic freedom, whether science and religion can ever truly coexist in harmony, and what knowledge may be unravelled by the discovery of preserved cells in the remains of dinosaurs.

Featured image: A Triceratops. Source: BigStockPhoto

By April Holloway



Evolution is a THEORY, which means it is not supported by observed evidence. Creationism is a BELIEF, which means it is not supported by observed evidence. NEITHER has any business claiming finality. Sorry, humans. All we have is uncertainty in an indefinite universe. Buy it and live with it. Or don't. It will go on whether you do or not.

This whole argument of God versus science is absolutely stupid and ignorant . First of all, even if dinosaurs lived up until yesterday it doesn't mean anything other then the currant understanding of our past needs to be corrected and updated ,that's all it means . Yes there is a lot that we don't know . Science could someday prove that a great deal of religious text is based on real events and are there for fact, that still doesn't mean that all religious text is fact or that God is real. Or science could proof someday that God is real but that still doesn't mean that all the hard studied and tested work of science is wrong, it just means that we don't know it all. But to say something is fact just because its in some book with out some proven evidence is simply a guess and nothing more and guessing or believing a thing is fact only based on one faith is not science. Science is only the search for the truth or real facts based on repeatable experimentation, whatever the conclusions of those experiments may be. The improbability of a thing makes no difference if through repeatable experimentation the results prove it to be fact. True science is only the disciplined search for what the true factual reality is ,the provable reality,not the "because I said so reality" or the "just hoping or guessing reality". Here is the best example of the "guessing reality" based on religious faith. The quote end quote "END TIMES" here in the year of our Lord Oct 9th 2015 the earth is still here despite being guaranteed by the faithful countless times this century of its absolute destruction . As a matter of fact it has been claimed over thousand times by the Christian faithful over the last 200 years, that earth was to be destroyed on a specific date only to have that date come and go with out even the smallest amount of fire and brimstone. Talk about crying wolf, it sure doesn't lend credibility to anything that christian community wants to claim to be fact based on their faith. Considering how many times they have been wrong about the Apocalypse, I don't think I will put my faith in creationism or as I see it "just guessing". Yes the world will end someday and if you play the same lotto # long enough it will come up. I personally wish evangelical Christians would shut the "F "up about the end times because at this point it's nothing but a self fulling prophecy and someday some asshole will make it happen just to be right and the rest of us will be F "ed not because God has come back but because some jerk wanted the world to end. Think about it "EVERY SINGLE END TIME PREDICTION HAS BEEN WRONG EVERYONE ONE OF THEM" do you realize how much money is made by these assholes that claim to know when Jesus is coming. Jesus said its not even for him to know the hour or day, He also said to watch for false prophets , so if Jesus did not know when, then any one that says they "KNOW" when the end is , is a lying false prophet , DA ,DA , do you get it now , that also MEANS that if you think you know what day it all ends is, that you need to stop digging that bunker in your back yard and seek professional help, Because your not closer to god then Jesus your just nuts.

It’d be nice if religions and science could get along and work together to the good of humanity, but unfortunately that will never happen. Sadly, both sides are hard-headed and too skeptical of the other side to be accepting.


Radiometrc to orbital gives -2936. See Barry Setterfied. CUT chronology gives patriarch Job an age of 51 years. Was Triceratops a family pet?

Radiometrc to orbital gives -2936. See Barry Setterfied. CUT chronology gives patriarch Job an age of 51 years. Was Triceratops a family pet?


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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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