Radiocarbon dating bone

Radiocarbon dating is especially good for determining the age of sites occupied within the last 26,000 years or so (but has the potential for sites over 50,000), can be used on carbon-based materials (organic or inorganic), and can be accurate to within ±30-50 years.

Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations.

Knowing that small concentrations of collagen can attract contamination, they compared precision Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) tests of collagen and bioapatite (hard carbonate bone mineral) with conventional counting methods of large bone fragments from the same dinosaurs. Mary Schweitzer, associate professor of marine, earth, and atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State University, surprised scientists in 2005 when she reported finding soft tissue in dinosaur bones.

These, together with many other remarkable concordances between samples from different fossils, geographic regions and stratigraphic positions make random contamination as origin of the C-14 unlikely". She started a firestorm of controversy in 20 when she reported that she had sequenced proteins in the dinosaur bone.

In 2011, a Swedish team found soft tissue and biomolecules in the bones of another creature from the time of the dinosaurs, a Mosasaur, which was a giant lizard that swam in shallow ocean waters.Desmond Clark (1979:7) observed that without radiocarbon dating "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation." And as Colin Renfrew (1973) aptly noted over 30 years ago, the "Radiocarbon Revolution" transformed how archaeologists could interpret the past and track cultural changes through a period in human history where we see among other things the massive migration of peoples settling virtually every major region of the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to more intensive forms of food production, and the rise of city-states.However, as with any dating technique there are limits to the kinds of things that can be satisfactorily dated, levels of precision and accuracy, age range constraints, and different levels of susceptibility to contamination.It's accuracy has been verified by using C-14 to date artifacts whose age is known historically.The fluctuation of the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere over time adds a small uncertainty, but contamination by "modern carbon" such as decayed organic matter from soils poses a greater possibility for error. Thomas Seiler, a physicist from Germany, gave the presentation in Singapore.

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