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


Your comment is an unfinished story. You speak about religion being this very negative thing.

You fail to understand something which is very important. If Christianity wasn't a thing in the Roman Empire, everyone would be pagans up until this very day. Do you believe this world is a horrific thing, e.g. the wars in the middle east, ISIS crucifying Christians, they behead children and so on. If you think this is bad, you would not like to know what paganism was like. If paganism was a thing till this very day, the world would be a far more, incredibly chaotic place. Christianity was technically the savior of humanity, you should accept what it has done for the world, but you don't have to deny its beauty and negatively fabricate it.

You also have some common misconceptions. You fail to understand they did not blame everything on demonic possession. Yes, they classified something negative as evil, is there something wrong with that? An illness is bad, what is being bad, e.g. killing people, what is killing people, evil. Their use of the term evil is just a derivation of countless things. You're implying they didn't have remedies, methods of treating illnesses, broken bones and so on. Those pictures you see of people being hurdled by a priest isn't demonic possession, it something they still do till this very day, 'bless' people in the name of god. As these remedies, everything on this earth, is believed to be given by Him, hence the reason why they accommodate religion with their remedies when treating people.

You also act like Christianity or religion is forced upon you or the people in the dark ages. Those people had choices when Christianity was on the rise, hence the reason why as the world went on, freedom of speech and choice was allowed, science was formed in a matter that can try to prove another reason for the existence of humans and the earth. Freedom of belief and speech was given by Christianity, religion today isn't taught in schools and if you want to attend Christian seminars in school, you have to sign a form. Which brings me to my next point.

Evolution-ism is forcefully taught in school under science, without passing science you can't progress an education. It does in fact not mean you HAVE to believe in evolution-ism, however much like in the dark ages, it doesn't mean you have to believe in creationism. So you tell me, what is being forced down our throats here? Indisputable.

As proven evident, I don't actually see how it's arguable, and I don't want to seem rude here much like you wrote on your comment, but your perception of religion is heavily biased and diluted to the point where it seems as though you have a negative agenda among creationism.

This is coming from an engineer, I have a degree in structural engineering so I've been studying science my whole life to even university grade science, it doesn't make me better than anyone else, but I sure as hell know I have a great understanding of both sides of the story, unlike you my friend which was evidence when you proposed your perception of Christianity. Where I not only proposed a normal understanding of what is written in the bible, but a historical and logical analysis too when it comes to creationists and evolutionists.

You do not know this. That is your theory and belief.. So if we find something new for debate we should just stick our fingers in our ears and say la la la? This respected scientist presented his findings for you to look at and talk about. Agree or disagree you keep going back in time for your anti Christian rhetoric.. Christians don't feel this way today... Does Germany want to return to nazi germany? Also finding soft Dino tissue was not a call for magic. Just the fact of discovery.. So you think we have discovered and found everything that we are going to? Nothing more to find huh? Science is done... You believe humans know it all. Well how come we have so many unanswered questions about outer space and our own ocean depths? We know it all. If we don't it must be magic?Cmon... C'mon that's idiotic... You want to say christians want ancient ways of the world? That they couldn't have evolved as well? Then put it all back then... What was common scientific belief in those dark Christian days? I guess we must also return to that time period way of thinking in every aspect not just christians... Fact is we don't gave the answers. Years ago the light bulb telephone cars and flight were absurd and magic. Ooooooh dumb ass. And for your sake you better hope that we humans are it.. That we are the smartest creatures in the universes. That there is no higher power than us because we can barely get off our planet right now. How arrogant to think all we know now is the real world.. Thank God people didn't feel that way 500 yrs ago...400... How about just a hundred ? That that's all folks we know it all stop searching. Silence debate. Name call thinkers or just execute them! We are the most intelligent creatures in the sad how arrogant.... How stupid! You ever notice that the non believers are the quickest to ask for divine help at the end of their life... It's like your an idiot you God believers. Your stupid. I laugh at you fools.. Then at deaths door it's oh my God please help me! Your arrogance is astounding

It just questions the preconceived idea of the age of the dinosaur. Period. All you write about is it proving religion or Creationism, when it does no such thing!

You don't have to be religious to uncover scientific and medical truth. But when it comes to *delivering* those benefits to humanity, practicing Christians have the rest of the world beat by far.

Of course they exist and they use knowledge that was derived from scientific principles not religion. His point is well made that a fundamentalist view of the world is contradictory to a scientific approach to understanding the world.


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