Fossil DNA in Deep Seafloor Mud |

TBC Staff - EN


Scientists found DNA in two undersea sediment drill cores from the Bering Sea.1 The researchers thought the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) must have come from near-surface light-gathering organisms like diatoms, and not mud-dwelling organisms like bacteria. Discovering cpDNA from dead diatoms near the top of the seafloor presents no challenge, but these researchers found it hundreds of meters down. Long-age believers insist that hundreds of meters of sediment require at least hundreds of thousands of years to deposit. Given that DNA degrades relatively quickly, the team faced the significant challenge of explaining how DNA could persist long enough to get buried beneath that much sediment.

In the journal Geology, the three scientists described the DNA samples that came from various depths. Other researchers gave each an assigned age of over a million years.1 DNA is not supposed to last that long. Not even close. The trio referenced a 2012 report led by Morten Allentoft, now with the Natural History Museum of Denmark's Centre for GeoGenetics. Allentoft used carbon dates of extinct moa (giant, flightless bird) bones to calibrate a mitochondrial DNA decay rate, finding its half-life at only 521 years.2 The Geology study authors therefore had to admit to "large differences between 100 yr and 100 m.y. time scales…."

The Bering Sea DNA they discovered joins prior finds that similarly challenge deep time. The authors briefly described examples of DNA and RNA preservation from sediments thought to be as much as 2.7 million years old. They wrote, "In general, genetic studies of material that pre-dates the Quaternary [i.e., more than 2.6 million years old] are at odds with the current understanding of DNA preservation, especially in wet environments." Clearly, DNA decays in hundreds of years at Earth-surface temperatures, but scientists find DNA that apparently lasted over a million years. How can this be?

The Geology authors suggested that DNA decays fast at first—at rates like the Allentoft study showed—but then later somehow decays at a much slower rate. Did the assumption of vast ages drive this speculation, or did scientific observations? The authors acknowledged that they did not know how DNA could swap decay regimes like this, which means they apparently have no scientific basis for claiming the slower rate of decay.

But what if God made these creatures? What if they never evolved? Biostratigraphy rests on assuming an evolutionary past—the main flaw with biostratigraphy. This dating procedure assumes the very age that it attempts to prove!


Kirkpatrick, J. B., E. A. Walsh, and S. D'Hondt. 2016. Fossil DNA persistence and decay in marine sediment over hundred-thousand-year to million-year time scales. Geology. 44 (8): 615–618.
Thomas, B. Bone DNA Decays Too Fast for Evolution. Creation Science Update. Posted on October 24, 2012, accessed August 2, 2016.
Takahashi, K., A. C. Ravelo, C. A. Alvarez Zarikian, and the Expedition 323 Scientists. Expedition 323 summary. Proceedings of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. Volume 323. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.

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