Unprecedented Blood-Filled Mosquito Fossil Raises Questions Over Evolutionary Dating Methods

MosquitoKALISPELL, Mont. – The discovery of a fossilized mosquito has led some scientists to question the presumed age of ancient fossils and rock layers.

The National Academy of Sciences recently published a journal article written by a team of five American and European scientists. The 5-page paper details the recent discovery of a well-preserved, fossilized mosquito in northwestern Montana’s Kishenehn Formation. Remarkably, the fossil appears to contain traces of preserved blood—a feature that the discoverers describe as both “rare” and “unique.”

“The preservation of fossil female mosquito … was an extremely improbable event,” the journal article explains. “The insect had to take a blood meal, be blown to the water’s surface, and sink to the bottom of a pond or similar lacustrine structure to be quickly embedded in fine anaerobic sediment, all without disruption of its fragile distended blood-filled abdomen.”

The blood-engorged mosquito was discovered in shale sediment which many geologists claim is 46 million years old. Thus, the discovery team says the specimen must have been fossilized—blood and all—46 million years ago. But even many scientists are stunned that the blood could have survived over such an immense period of time. An article on the journal Nature’s website says it was “a long shot” that the blood was found still intact.

“The abdomen of a blood-engorged mosquito is like a balloon ready to burst. It is very fragile,” Dale Greenwalt, leader of the mosquito-finding team, told Nature. “The chances that it wouldn’t have disintegrated prior to fossilization were infinitesimally small.”

Therefore, some assert that the find indicates that the Montana shale formation is much younger than previously thought. Brian Thomas, science writer for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), says the mosquito blood could not have possibly survived for nearly 50 million years. He told Christian News Network that scientists estimate specimens’ ages by correlating the fossils to data listed on standardized geologic charts.

“Investigating the origin of the numbered dates on the chart, notorious for being constantly tweaked,” Thomas explained, “reveals complicated circular reasoning involving deep time age assignments given to certain fossils on the assumption that those fossils were deposited during separate time eras rather than separate areas at nearly the same time.”

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Thomas says that the rock-dating methods used in these situations are “notoriously unreliable,” since they often return “vastly inflated” age estimates. He noted that a journal article written by geologist Steven Austin detailed that one volcanic rock formed at Mt. St. Helens in 1986 was assigned an age of nearly 3 million years.

“The recent report of genuine [blood] … inside the Kishenehn Formation’s mosquito fossil assigns its age using similarly circular reasoning,” Thomas continued. “[The discovery team] asserts that the fossil is 46 million years old because the Kishenehn Formation is supposedly that old (although the reference they cited gave two ‘ages’—43 and 46 million, neither fitting within the other’s error margins). And where do they learn the Formation is that old? Because the corresponding fossils on the geologic chart indicate such an age.”

Thomas told Christian News Network that “there is no scientific evidence that heme groups can last, under any circumstances of preservation, for even one million, let alone many millions of years.” Thomas also pointed out that the shale rocks containing the mosquito fossil are rich with oil. Like blood, the organic oils “should have completely degraded long ago, especially considering how voracious oil-eating bacteria are known to be,” he said.

“Ultimately,” Thomas concluded, “the ‘millions of years’ dogma, bereft of genuine scientific substance, serves as the ultimate authority for geologists who wish to keep their jobs in a secularized discipline.”

Photo: National Academy of Sciences


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  • M. C.

    There really is no problem with how the mosquito was preserved at all. It states clearly in the article that the mosquito was found in lake sediments. Lacustrine environments are well known for their ability to preserve, as sedimentation is very slow and soft. Many other extremely delicate animals have been preserved in lake seds and other shale environments. Take the burgess shale for example, which preserves ediacaran biota. That shale is over 500 million years old. The finding of a trace of heme does nothing to disrupt the credibility of the scientific method. Sorry, but the article is nothing but sensationalism.

  • jack parker

    Did anybody claim that it was blood?

    Why could it not be carbon derived from blood? Carbon survives ….

  • Paul

    Talk about unsound reasoning? What studies have been done to determine the maximum time a blood sample could survive? None. This is a classic creationist argument that because scientists “don’t know it all” (and why should a scientist be expected to know it all?) then God must have been the creator. When you can prove, without a shadow of a doubt that God exists other than in the mind of man then you can argue the case to your hearts content.

    • TJ

      No, scientists should not be expected to know it all. However, they should be expected to adhere to standards for scientific methods and be intellectually honest when claiming something is fact when in all actuality it’s based on a foundation of unproven assumptions. That’s in fact what all dating methods are and that can’t be argued against. Dating methods are fully based on in observed assumptions which always gives the theorists their out in claiming something is a fact because neither they or anyone else can actually prove or disprove the actual original amounts of radioactive material present. This has become the underlying theme for much of today’s scientists in that they are way too willing to promote theory as fact and bury the assumptions deep.

  • Jack Dubious

    They didnt find intact “blood”, they found the organic molecule Heme.

  • Alfonso

    Most atheists I have discussed an ID with over the Internet always seemed to become extremely agitated whenever they are confronted with non-atheistic possibilities and tended to become stubbornly illogical.
    Unfortunately the whole discussion would invariably become untenable due to the incessant heckling and namecalling which made any further effort of cogent reasoning a veritable exercize in futility. I’m glad to see that on this forum that is not the case.

  • jmichael39

    Interesting find…and while dating charts are based upon constantly evolving dating methods, there is no reason to utterly discard those charts because of a certain degree of unreliability. The best one can do is to follow the scientific method of verifying everything…double and triple checks and coming at issues from multiple directions. It is how truth is discovered.

    • oregon_man

      Too bad it is total baloney. Shame on this website for publishing this creation science nonsense. A 3 million year old rock on Mount Saint Helens is completely irrelevant but very plausible. When that volcano blew up it likely tossed out rocks of many different ages. The mountain itself was and is formed by layers of rocks of many different ages.

      • jmichael39

        “Too bad it is total baloney.” – Now THERE’S rebuttal.
        “likely” “plausible” — sounds just a tiny bit like you don’t know for sure. What’s wrong with you, OM? You go from such a confident, though BS, statement to such doubt. Wow. I’m not impressed at all.

        • oregon_man

          You’re getting really desperate. Don’t worry, keep on believing, even if religion is all fake the placebo effect works 35% of the time.

          • jmichael39

            “You’re getting really desperate. ” – that’s a very common retort from people when they have nothing logical to say. But I understand your reason for responding that way. Its ‘likely’ because you can’t come up with a ‘plausible’ response. Of course you could always resort to your old stand by, “It is total baloney”. That always seems to make you feel better when you don’t have an intelligent retort.

          • oregon_man

            Again, you’re desperate because you have nothing logical, rational or factual to say. So you return to ad hominem.

    • Spectrum

      Or how truth is manufactured, and presented as such by evolutionists…..

      • Nothing

        “Or how truth is manufactured, and presented as such by evolutionists…..”

        Or how truth is manufactured, and presented as such by creationists…..

        Fixed it for you!