BBC TV Horizon: Dinosaurs - The Hunt For Life
- From Will Brooks Tuesday 27th August 6.35 PM GMT
BBC TV on Monday evening screened Horizon: Dinosaurs the Hunt For Life
This 1 hour long programme was about the findings of palaeontologist Mary Schweitzer who discovered traces of soft tissue in a dinosaur fossil dated, allegedly, as 65 million years old.
In a nutshell:
Schweitzer presented her findings of cells, protein, and DNA obtained from the fossil but the scientific community received her findings with scepticism. She said about this rejection: "If you can't be convinced by the data, how can this be science?" Later in the programme she suggested the reason for the non acceptance of her findings is because those scientists believe DNA cannot be preserved for 65 million years.
But Schweitzer, despite her previous comment about data, nonetheless insisted it must be the case that DNA can be preserved for 65 million years.
So, this situation is a dilemma for science. If DNA cannot be preserved for 65 million years how do objectors explain away the findings of Schweitzer? On the other hand if they accept the findings of Schweitzer they must also accept that DNA can be preserved for 65 million years and those objectors have to explain how they got things so wrong.
This raises the vital question of how long is DNA preserved after death and is there verifiable evidence for whatever that time of period happens to be?