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Paleontology and the Bible: Science in action

Lee Spencer


  • June 28, 2010
    5:45 PM
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Hailey anthology in the Bible science in action what does that mean for talking about research that were doing today while that's a broad topic to we have Adventist scientists all over the world doing research we have is also illegal in France in the world will be argued in Argentina we have people in Brazil Colombia not to mention how many schools in the United States so I like to focus on all that is twenty minutes or less the answers are not I'm in a focus in on to that I'm involved with since I was asked to do the talk one of them is the dinosaur project anyway there's a number of institutions working together on this project we've been working on it for more than ten years this is the area and in northeastern Wyoming and this is the geology of the area the green is Cretaceous so that's been a be dinosaur aged the Browns are part of the mammal bearing layers above the dinosaurs and it's kind of a bull that sit in their and that's why you see it on both sides could you Venerable filled with the sentiments tipped up and shave this is an area where we developed a new technology for studying fossils we presented this the results of our work to the geological Society of America into the are revealing theological Society is combining survey grade GPS with GIS to be able to plot these things not survey grade GPS is not the same as you carry in your wallet the survey grade is plus or minus a few melamine and so it's it's very accurate we had a base station by the way this is what Eastern Wyoming looks like a base station and then we have a rover and that then measures everything in relation to that base station now originally you had to do it that way because the US government invented the GPS system for what Catholic it dropped two bombs down the same whole and so they don't want the Russians to do that us using our satellites so they scrambled so the only way you can use it was to have some place that was surveyed that you knew where it was and am compared to signal where it said were incorrect for now they have shut it off at hand so it's not a scrambled so out as it works here is a drumstick of a dinosaur the leg bone or femur this bone is about four feet long and probably weighs about two hundred pounds when we find a bone than a technician and with the rover comes through in a measure and they laid take several readings on each bone and make the arrest on the bone actually using fingernail polish and keep track of where it is and they measure each on a number of different positions on the same bone so here are the positions for that femur that you saw sitting in the ground so you have your femur take a picture of it cut out the picture we got always low-rent dots on their CU line it up with the red dots and you know in three-dimensional space where that dinosaur bone existed and you keep doing that these are where all of these bones were found above this big femur this is a backbone etc. so the area where were doing this research is about eighty eighty five acres around this Mesa and the dinosaur bones all go underneath the maze we have eight forty sites and the red marks places where we have found dinosaur bone weathering out of the rock so if we look at Corrie site one this was the year two thousand two thousand one two thousand two thousand three etc. you can see that we can build a virtual for AC can look at those dinosaur bones just as they existed when that at any soil same thing with North Corey by the in the team are we starting with that's it right there and you compare that to the number of dinosaur bones every year the team estimates about a thousand dinosaur bones now you see they're not all big leg bones you have all kinds of little boats made of dinosaurs as well if you go to the second Corrie site you'll get us the same kind of picture how Corrie site three down at the South and had been worked very much Cory site for Corrie site five is up there worry site six etc. now we can take and make some predictions we know that where our quarry sites are here we know where the layer goes that has all of these dinosaur bones and so we can do some reconstruction so here are the dinosaur bones were found at Corey will excite wanted for a site to Corrie site three etc. based on that and this Corrie site here you can predict what's underneath the clefts so that's what it would look like on the number of dinosaur bones that are preserved at this locality he had to be at least twenty five to thirty five individual thousands individual dinosaurs they got married in this one layer should now let me go on to another research area the search for ancient DNA we just did this one last year and we have several other institutions that are cooperating with us the new law will split from Loma Linda is working with us on this as well so why are we doing people that study forensic science monitor how long DNA hangs around after some an organism 's debt so they have spent a lot of time investigating that that DNA has four base pairs are all and all of your genes and genetics come from some combination of those four base pairs one of those base pairs and cytosine and it has a half-life of three hundred and forty five years at room temperature that means if him and three hundred and forty five years from the time it died only half of the cytosine would be left hand in what six hundred eighty at you and ninety and you have one fourth as much my ten half lives there is essentially none left and so that would be three thousand four hundred fifty years when it's frozen the half-life goes to seventeen thousand years or so after ten half lives or a hundred and seventy thousand years there should be no DNA so the presence of ancient DNA can be a test between old life and young life models of Earth history if the Earth really is millions of years old there should be no cytosine on anything it's older than a hundred and seventy thousand years and the Ice Age boundaries apply a Pleistocene boundary is one eight million and so that is a hundred half-lives so anything before the ice ages has to have been more than a hundred half-lives if it's been frozen the whole time on the other hand if the earth 's wood is less than five or six thousand years since the flood that's less than one third of one half-life therefore there should be abundant DNA and so we went to wanted to go to the Arctic where you have frozen plant fossils that are supposed to be middle Miocene or seventeen million years old my plant fossils people have tried to him maybe successfully get DNA out of old things is a big controversy about whether they've gotten DNA on a dinosaur bone the problem is when you make many many copies of it and if you get a dandruff like that in there it'll make a million copies of your DNA and so how do you know it's not a contaminant plus bone crystals may make a real tight bond around the collagen which has it passed in the serial within DNA so you get the board made the argument that the phone can possibly preserve things longer than this half-life because of the special relationship of bone crystals that DNA plants don't have moaned there is no way to make that argument for plant DNA furthermore if we only use the DNA that are in the chloroplasts that the little organelles that that actually captured the sunlight if we only look at DNA from them it can't possibly come from me I have no quarrel fill in me at all I hope so we decided to look for specific genes that are called bar coding genes on in this fossil plants if we go to collect do the people we call the PCR reaction to limber a chain reaction that just a way of making millions and millions of copies of just a few strands of DNA now you see why it would be important not to let a dandruff like in town you make the millions of copies so we went to a place in northern Canada and the Arctic Ocean banks island where there are two sets of layers line is four seven million early Pliocene any other is seventeen million middle Miocene so let's take the seventeen million one if the half-life is seventeen thousand years how many and him lies you have an one seven million years thousand half-life years bangs Island in the Arctic Ocean here is a new rich and we are actually was actually with my wife were able to drive up to Inuvik and the rest of the crew flew in and then we chartered a bush plane and went up here to the north east corner of Banks Island and Lee were our campsite was right there is amazing what you can do with Google this is our push blame this little puppy to be loaded with all in all a lot of people and get off the ground and in less than fifty feet and amazing airplane so here we are all jammed in with our dear Jane just go to the grocery store and so were going out across the Mackenzie River Delta and come into Sachs Harbour that's the only town on Banks Island booming metropolis of a lot of wildlife these are all snow geese I think there something like a third of the world snow geese come to bank silent announced could be wrong on that number and so were flying in here in the middle of July and you can see how tropical is the middle of July here are our formations and the layer they contained electrons are really looking for is this one all of the sentiments from the top of that one down are the seventeen million old layer and everything from here up to the top is the Pliocene or four seven million year layer so that Bush plane lands out there in the middle of absolutely nowhere sets are here out there and probably takes off so we set up camp out there and there are no trees to go by the things you don't think about before you leave home and all of the two women that what was done about it first day there it smells in July this is the Arctic Ocean and Arctic sea ice and our Chadwicks were things he and polar bear out there somewhere I think he was using his paying your imagination this is our daily attire for July so we got to get through this it's beautiful there's a wolf and I has a story about him Jason the Sandhill Crane those are musk ox silver fox peregrine falcon is just a neat place so anyway we collected our specimen these were raingear they came within a few feet of our chance we never did see this guy or that but we were prepared we found the spruce cones are supposed to be seventeen million years old these are incredibly well preserved soft seeds in them amazing things with health certificate chains are there people thought we were nuts to cut down through the permafrost and we collected a sample of frozen peach to look through the stuff so anyway we have since left yes the only place to get empty boxes the backup was the local liquor store anyway too much detail and had a crash broke my neck and and live happily ever after but we got we haven't gotten DNA just this last week we've gotten with it it turns out is preserved in small fragmented pieces and so we had to develop special primers for those small pieces we did that seek got the materials and sent off the sequence and I haven't found out yet word scope the OR or ancient DNA thank you him and


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