Ivory dating

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University of Utah geochemists developed a new way to fight poaching of elephants, hippos, rhinos and other animals.

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The method uses the "bomb curve," which is a graph – shaped roughly like an inverted "V" – showing changes in carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere – and thus absorbed by plants and animals in the food chain. Those levels peaked in the 1960s and have declined ever since but still are absorbed by and measurable in plant and animal tissues.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the University of Utah.

As elephants grow new material at the base of their tusks, the ivory contains the carbon-14 signature of the plants the elephant had recently eaten.

Because radioactive carbon-14 levels have been slowly declining since the 1960s, scientists can use the carbon-14 signature in a bone, tusk or tooth to determine, within about a year, when the material was formed.It was published online the week of July 1 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "It has immediate applications to fighting the illegal sale and trade of ivory that has led to the highest rate of poaching seen in decades," says Uno, now a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory."The dating method is affordable and accessible to government and law enforcement agencies," costing about 0 per sample, says the study's first author, geochemist Kevin Uno, who did the research for his University of Utah Ph. Not only can the method help wildlife forensics to combat poaching, but "we've shown that you can use the signature in animal tissues left over from nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere to study modern ecology and help us learn about fossil animals and how they lived," says Cerling, a distinguished professor of geology and geophysics, and biology at the University of Utah. and Soviet atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in Nevada and Siberia from 1952 through 1962.The study was published November 7 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Despite efforts to stop the ivory trade, poaching claims an estimated 8 percent of African elephants each year, or around 96 elephants per day. Bans usually allow the sale of ivory that was legally acquired prior to 1976, including heirloom or antique pieces."This work provides for the first time actionable intelligence on how long it's taking illegal ivory to reach the marketplace," says Lesley Chesson, the study's co-author and CEO of Isoforensics, "The answer: Not long at all, which suggests there are very well developed and large networks for moving ivory across Africa and out of the continent." "Apart from the actual killing there's the trade on the ground before it gets to ports, the actual shipments through shipping containers, and then the problem of the demand side," says Thure Cerling, the study's first author and distinguished professor of geology and geophysics. Demand for elephant ivory and other illegal products derived from endangered animals has grown in Asia in recent years, opening a fresh battleground in the struggle against illegal ivory even as U. Confirming the age of those pieces, however, relies on proper documentation.If you ARE going to write a long winded profile don’t add the qualities you are NOT looking for.

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