A team of German and Chinese researchers has made a claim that could spark major re-dating of organic material from more than 30,000 years ago.What the team suggests is that radiocarbon dating, which has long been the dominant method of dating organic matter up to 60,000 years old, becomes unreliable for specimens of over 30,000 years, in some cases highly unreliable.Radiocarbon dating, which was discovered for science as a method of dating ancient specimens of organic matter by US chemist Willard Libby, consists in measuring the levels of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that has a halflife of 5,700 years.
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“There are thousands of products that are thought to contain various types of nanoparticles and given the scale of the research and development many more on the way,” says CENR Director and Smart State Endowed Chair Jamie Lead, who directs this line of research.
“The radiocarbon dating technique may significantly underestimate the age of sediment for samples older than 30,000 years,” the researchers wrote in their paper, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.
The paper is published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Based on this number, they could tell how long the sample had stayed there.
They then dated that and other samples using radiocarbon dating and found that the method became unreliable for samples over 30,000 years old.They used radiocarbon dating and another dating method called optically stimulated luminescence.
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