Radiocarbon helps date ancient objects—but it's not perfect
New technique provides accurate dating of ancient skeletons -- ScienceDaily
Isotopic analysis is used in a variety of fields across the sciences, such as Geology, Biology, Organic Chemistry, and Ecology. Archaeology, which is situated between the hard natural sciences and social sciences, has adapted the techniques developed in these fields to answer both archaeological and anthropological questions that span the globe over both time and space. The questions that are addressed within the field of Archaeology most commonly relate to the study of diet and mobility in past populations. While most people are familiar with isotopic analysis related to the study of radiocarbon dating or C, fewer are familiar with the analysis of other isotopes that are present in biological material such as human or animal bone. The stable isotopes of 13 C, 15 N and 18 O differ from the analysis of 14 C in that they do not steadily decay over time, thus there is no "half-life. The exploration of isotopic identifiers of mobility, environment, and subsistence in the past also has contemporary relevance in that it can aid in informing policies relating to heritage protection, resource management and, sustainability and perhaps most significantly, help us to learn more about the remarkable ability of our own species to adapt and survive in any number of environmental and cultural circumstances. In order to investigate stable isotopes from human and animal bones, a very small sample of bone is needed for the analysis.
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Paleontologists explore the world of ancient history. As plants, animals, and people die, their bodies and structures are left behind. They study fossilized remains and remnants; give them a couple of bones, and they can tell the story of what life was like thousands of years ago. From the toes to the tip of the head, every bone can help us understand more about the life, culture, and people of the past. Originally, bones were used to determine how old a person was, their race, and whether the remains were of a male or a female.
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