Dinosaur Bones—Just How Old Are They Really?

Dinosaurs Fossil Bone

An evolutionary dinosaur expert reveals some fascinating facts!

by Carl Wieland

Most people think that fossil bones (of which the most well-known examples are those of dinosaurs) must be very, very old—because, after all, they have turned to stone, haven’t they?

Even millions of years might, to some, not even seem long enough to allow for natural processes to gradually, molecule by molecule, replace the original substance of the bone with rock minerals.

But this common picture is misleading. A recent book, co-authored by a world expert on dinosaurs, points out some things about dinosaur bones that are of great interest to creationists.

For one thing, it says:

‘Bones do not have to be “turned into stone” to be fossils, and usually most of the original bone is still present in a dinosaur fossil.’

Ok, but even if the actual bone is not replaced by rock minerals, some fossil dinosaur bones are rock-hard, and show under the microscope when cut that they have been thoroughly ‘permineralized.’ This means that rock minerals have been deposited into all the spaces within the original bone. Doesn’t this show that the formation of these fossils, at least, must represent a long time? Think again. The same authoritative work also tells us:

‘The amount of time that it takes for a bone to become completely permineralized is highly variable. If the groundwater is heavily laden with minerals in solution, the process can happen rapidly. Modern bones that fall into mineral springs can become permineralized within a matter of weeks.’

So even a rock-solid, hard shiny fossil dinosaur bone, showing under the microscope that all available spaces have been totally filled with rock minerals, does not indicate that it necessarily took millions of years to form at all.

Now of course if a dinosaur bone is indeed permineralized, it would give it great protection from the normal processes which cause things such as bone to just naturally ‘fall apart.’ So a permineralized bone might indeed be anything from a few weeks to millions of years old…

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image credit: Nkansahrexford