During a little chat with a small kid he was trying to make a dinosaur figure using lego cubes, I asked him what he's doing? The boy answered: "I'm trying to make a T-Rex". Tyrannosaurus Rex (publicly known as T-Rex) is the most famous dinosaur ever with this big head, small hands, and protruding sharp teeth like it was a machine that was specifically designed to kill. I asked this little boy about what he really knows about dinosaurs and he turned out to know much about these lovely creatures, he probably knew more than me, he knew about some types of dinosaurs I didn't know about and he also knew that T-Rex lived almost (65-70 million years ago). I asked this little smart kid: " How do you you make sure that T-Rex lived 70 million years ago and why not thousands of years ago? Did you even live in that era?" The boy answered: "My teacher told me so!".
There is an undeniable scientific agreement upon the era when dinosaurs were in action (245-66 million years ago). These information are being taught to both school kids and academics as some sort of undeniable facts and they are all comfortable to it but is it really a fact?. This article isn't about trying to debunk scientific facts but it's more about how we define science itself and is it undeniable?, should we really ask ourselves some questions from time to time?, isn't it what science is all about; I mean asking questions?.
Okay, I'm going to ask some questions here and then I will try to answer it according to my limited knowledge and logic. First of all we have to agree upon some scientific fact and it goes through all of our lives, how to make sure that Shakespeare or Leonardo Da-Vinci lived and existed in some era?. You didn't see both but you read about them, you know someone who saw someone who saw someone else with an ongoing chain of sightings that would end up to that specific person. Same goes for religious figures and personnel like (Prophet Muhamed) and (Jesus). Also the Hole Quran and Bible and any other religious or historic manuscript goes back on time to someone or some people. Even though some modern minds would question the existence of some pretty famous historic figures like (Jesus) and (Buddha) for example. Some others never truly existed like (Uncle Sam) and (Robin Hood) for example, read this article here about famous historic figures who never really existed.
What I mean is that some pretty famous historic figures could be questionable to be ever existed at all even that there are many teachings and manuscripts that refer back to them. This is the true nature of science, you can't be sure about anything at all. Sometimes you will have to trust someone else and choose to believe in things you don't really have a certain proof for.
That's the main issue here about dating rocks and fossils back to millions of years ago when no man ever lived or saw any of these rocks and creatures coming to life. This shouldn't be considered as facts rather than a theory as long as we can't see or reproduce these objects to tell with our own eyes what we really saw. Let me ask you some questions then and I will try to help you with what I know so far and leave the final judgement to you:
Well, I didn't and neither you did but did someone in the past see it?. Some cave paintings all over the world were found where some paintings of dinosaur-like creatures were discovered. These paintings were so many that we can't ignore. Did our ancestors live aside with dinosaurs? Did they imagine it? Check out these images for example:
And check out this relatively modern painting from Ottoman era:
And this painting from Ishtar Gate:
Even if we didn't see dinosaurs in modern ages, this doesn't mean we should through it back to millions of years ago!. Dinosaurs pictures were found also in old Chinese paintings and some would argue that dragons are nothing but a diversion of dinosaurs in old collective public mind.
We use radioactive decaying dating, some radioactive materials like Carbon-14 have a long decaying time as their atoms tend to decay over time and that's how we measure old dating by measuring the amount of decay in radioactive elements atoms. The main problem with Carbon-14 was the relatively short half life of decaying which goes around (5000-50,000) years ago. Even this big margin of error could be considered scientific by paleontologists but is it really the same? I mean 5000 years old and 50,000?.
Anyway, we had to come up with something slower in decaying and with longer half life than Carbon-14 so we tried to use Potassium-40, Uranium-235, and Uranium-238. These latter elements have a half life of decaying that goes around 1 million years. Anything dated back to more than 1 million years is questionable as we don't have slower elements nowadays so actually it's the same to tell that creature died 2 million years or 200 million years ago, who cares anyway? I didn't live back in that time to tell what's right and wrong. But Paleontologists still persist to these measurements as the most accurate available method nowadays and as long as we don't have a better measurement so we don't argue much about their massive time ranges.
Another problem about radioactive dating is the great variety when measuring the same specimen using different elements. For example we can measure some fossil with Potassium-40 and Uranium-238 but we get completely different results, it is not solid and the scientific community has agreed to these preassigned time ranges as an undeniable fact so any fossil that would give a recent dating would be considered as an error of measurement rather than a scientific revolution.
Check out in this article how funny could be Carbon dating. In one experiment we measured some recently dying sea creatures and it dated to 3000 years old. Another one dated some recently dying creatures to 2000 years in the future!. It dated a modern day creature to be yet dying after 2000 years in the future and that's how science goes nowadays.
Another problem facing radioactive measurements as the change of radioactivity in earth's atmosphere over ages. If some big meteor hit the earth thousands of years ago which resulted in a nuclear explosion and emitted radiations all over the earth, this nuclear contamination would affect all radioactive measurements of fossils and same goes for the past century where hundreds of nuclear experiments were performed and the radioactivity measurements all over the earth were raised and that would affect radioactive dating too.
The bottom line is radioactive measurements are liable to great faults and mistakes but the scientific community has agreed to certain date ranges and they deal with anything disagreeing with these measurements as a fault or a hoax.
No, we only date rocks surrounding dinosaur bones and teeth. The problem is that animal tissues including bones don't really have any radioactive elements in their components. The logic here is as the bone was covered with some mud and rock then this bone dates back to the age of the rock itself.
Don't try to argue that logic or else you will be cursed with words like (ignorant) and (creationist). Even when you try to work out your brains a little like what if that rock was millions of years older than the fossils or what if this volcano when erupted was 500 million years older than that poor T-Rex that got caught by the lava?. Just don't ask it!.
Of course not, all scientific papers have agreed that you can't find any soft tissues of any specimen older than 100,000 years old. When animals die, bacteria and other organisms will take over their cellular biological components and leave them with nothing but bones and teeth which become fossilized later on by getting surrounded with mud, rocks, and lava. The amazing fact is: We did find dinosaurs soft tissues!.
In 2006, the American paleontologist (Mary Schweitzer) was examining some femur of a T-Rex dinosaur she found, this bone got broken upon excavation and on microscopic examination she found blood vessels, bone marrow, and collagen (a protein). These news were like a thunder strike over the scientific community and Mary (who is an atheist evolutionist) was so embarrassed that she tried to explain things as we could be wrong about how we understand fossilization process. She wanted to be wrong about fossilization but not the radioactive dating!. Check out this article here about Mary and her discovery.
Later on, soft tissues of dinosaurs were revealed by a Chinese expedition team and other teams around the world where they found soft tissues inside ribs, femur bones, and other bones in some fossils they discovered. Check out the picture below for a Chinese team excavation for a T-Rex dinosaur:
And this picture for soft tissues and blood vessels inside a dinosaur:
Now our final question:
Some recent news revealed that a scientific team from University of Kent - UK has managed to decipher the DNA code of a dinosaur based on the findings of soft dinosaur tissues and cells from all around the world and by using the DNA of turtles and birds they were able to fill out the gaps and finally reach the first final form of a dinosaur DNA, check out this article on BBC.
The scientific team stated that their main purpose wasn't to clone dinosaurs and bring them to life but they just wanted to spotlight on these extinct creatures and how they lived and reproduced. The main importance of this scientific breach is that it is officially and finally possible to clone dinosaurs and maybe in one recent day we would see a real life jurassic park. It is just a matter of time now.
In the end we would like to state that this article wasn't about debunking scientific methods or breaching for pseudo science. It was just about asking some questions and trying to figure out the answers, we would leave the final judgement to you to let us know what you think. Did dinosaurs really live millions of years ago?