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Unaltered Cretaceous Bone or Wood

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Someone on a facebook thread brought up something I'm not familiar with. Yeah...add it to the list. LOL

If I understood it right they said some Cretaceous Period bone and wood has been found that has not undergone any physical change. The material was on the North Slope in Alaska so I wondered if it had anything to do with deposition in permafrost. They said it is not that uncommon but I don't recall coming across this in any textbooks or descriptions of preservation methods. Does anyone know of any other places where this has occurred or how it would be possible for anything organic to last that long without any alteration? This is someone who has published papers on paleontology so I would like to assume it's right. If so I need to include it in my fossil talks for kids because preservation methods is a big part of the talks and I like to get it right. Is this so common there aren't any descriptions or discussion of it?

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I haven't heard of this, but sometimes original shell material (rocky stoner just found an intact Devonian shell), collegen (in the case of one t. Rex femur), and pigments (in quite a few fossils) does survive long periods of time. Amber preserves the original, and permafrost preserves mammoth, rhinos, insects (most famously the Rocky Mountain locust), but i don't think the poles froze in the Cretaceous, and even if they did warm periods of the tertiary would have thawed them. So I suppose it would be possible, but I extremely doubt it. I have heard of Alaskan Cretaceous material though, large troodon (although the taxon troodon is being reconsidered currently) teeth were found, and if memory serves, hadrosaurids and tyrannosaurids.

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It's been called "mummified"


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4 minutes ago, doushantuo said:

It's not Cretaceous,but Paleocene,and it's wood hosted in the Lac de Gras kimberlites .

It's been called "mummified"


kimberlite is diamond bearing rock right? This is usually intrusive volcanic or deposited in small amounts by extraterrestrial objects, so wouldn't that destroy the fossils? 

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Okay I'm familiar with shell and teeth being unaltered and that makes sense. If the mummified wood is that close to the Cretaceous I suppose it could be possible but how common, has anyone researched why it happens, and what about bone?

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BobWill wrote:


>Someone on a facebook thread brought up something I'm not familiar with.

>Yeah...add it to the list. LOL

>If I understood it right they said some Cretaceous Period bone and wood 

>has been found that has not undergone any physical change. 


In case of the bones of the North Slope of Alaska, they are the Colville

River dinosaur fossils found at Ocean Point and Liscomb bone bed.

On Dinonet, go see:


"Re: Colville River, North Slope Alaska, Dinosaur Fossils Questions"





"looking for fresh dinosaur bones II"




Diagenetic alteration of dinosaur bone



Using key words from the above posts, a person can search 

Goggle Scholar for papers about these dinosaurs. 


They include:


Fiorillo, A.R., McCarthy, P.J., Kobayashi, Y. and Tanaka, T., 2018. 

Duck-billed Dinosaurs (Hadrosauridae), Ancient Environments,

and Cretaceous Beringia in Alaska’s National Parks. Migration: 

On the Move in Alaska, p.17.



Flaig, P. P., Fiorillo, A. R. & Mccarthy, P. J., 2014. Dinosaur-bearing

hyperconcentrated flows of Cretaceous Arctic Alaska: Recurring 

catastrophic event beds on a distal paleopolar coastal plain. 

Palaios, 29, pp. 594–611.






Van Der Kolk, D.A., Flaig, P.P. and Hasiotis, S.T., 2015. 

Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of A Late Cretaceous, Muddy, 

River-Dominated Polar Deltaic System: Schrader Bluff–Prince 

Creek Formation Transition, Shivugak Bluffs, North Slope of 

Alaska, USA. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 85(8), pp.903-936.





Phillips, R.L., 2003. Depositional environments and processes

 in Upper Cretaceous nonmarine and marine sediments, Ocean 

Point dinosaur locality, North Slope, Alaska. Cretaceous Research, 

24(5), pp.499-523.


Gangloff, R.A. and Fiorillo, A.R., 2010. Taphonomy and 

paleoecology of a bonebed from the Prince Creek Formation, 

North Slope, Alaska. Palaios, 25(5), pp.299-317.


Fiorillo, A.R., McCarthy, P.J. and Flaig, P.P., 2010. Taphonomic

and sedimentologic interpretations of the dinosaur-bearing Upper 

Cretaceous strata of the Prince Creek Formation, northern Alaska: 

insights from an ancient high-latitude terrestrial ecosystem. 

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 295(3-4),



It was also written:


>The material was on the North Slope in Alaska so I wondered if 

>it had anything to do with deposition in permafrost. 


Only indirectly. The relatively fresh nature is due to the fact that

the bones were never deeply buried and heated and the relatively

impermeable, fine-grained nature of the sediment enclosing them.

The permafrost simply prevented them from being weathered 

and dissolved before being exposed by erosion. In addition, they

only look and feel fresh. They actually have been somewhat

modified by diagenesis as indicated by detailed studies of

their geochemistry.


Go see:


Diagenetic alteration of dinosaur bone




The tall tales of unchanged Cretaceous wood likely refers to

the Paleogene mummified buried forests and wood found in

the Canadian High arctic. Go see:


Jurgens, J.A., Blanchette, R.A. and Filley, T.R., 2009. Fungal 

diversity and deterioration in mummified woods from the ad 

Astra Ice Cap region in the Canadian High Arctic. Polar biology, 

32(5), p.751.




Basinger, J.F., Greenwood, D.R. and Sweda, T., 1994. Early 

Tertiary vegetation of Arctic Canada and its relevance to 

paleoclimatic interpretation. In Cenozoic plants and climates 

of the Arctic (pp. 175-198). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.








Paul H.

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