University of arizona carbon dating dinosaur bones
James King, Director of the Carnegie Museum, says Hugh Miller and his party identified themselves as chemists who wanted to do some analyses of the chemical composition of the fossils.King says that small "bits and pieces" which had spalled off the surfaces of various specimens were offered to Miller with the explicit warning that the fossil bones had been "covered heavily in shellac" and other "unknown preservatives." Miller accepted the fragments and indicated that the coatings posed no problems for the analyses they were considering.
The special significance of the new dates reported by CRSEF, and presumably the justification for an article in the Columbus Dispatch, is that the objects which were dated are actual dinosaur fossils including specimens obtained from the paleontological collections of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.The process of fossilisation replaces the original organic matter with minerals, some of which may contain carbon, but carbon derived not from the fossil but from the environment, and this process can take place over a very long period and the resulting minerals will always be in dynamic equilibrium with their environment.So what has this to do with Hugh Miller and creationist lies?Very simply, Hugh Miller famously claims to have obtained a C date on some fragments of triceratops fossils and found them to be less than 40,000 years old, making them contemporaneous with modern humans.For some reason, creationists seem obsessed with dinosaurs and especially with proving that they lived with humans.Not all carbon is organic in origin and not all carbon in archaeological samples is derived from the original organic carbon.
For example, although carbonates may be present in the mineralised bones of which fossils are made, this does not mean it came from the original bone.
So, isn't this C dating of triceratops something of a problem for evolutionary biology and mighty blow for creationism?
Just as the Paluxy human and dinosaur tracks hoax was atrophying in it's effectiveness as a propaganda tool because maintaining that it wasn't a hoax was making creationists look even more ridiculous, didn't the astonishing C date fill just that gap?
Subsequently, several of the bone fragments were submitted to the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry for radiocarbon dating.
CRSEF "also arranged the Arizona testing by not revealing its origins" (Lafferty 1991:2B).
It also means that any contamination, especially from recent sources, can have a profound effect on the result making any sample appear to be much younger than it is. It also means that care must be taken that the carbon being measured is actually the carbon that was present when the organic matter was made.