Ancient dating techniques

"Dating is notoriously difficult even at the best of times, and not every sample that we analyzed from Lida Ajer proved to be suitable," Price said."We were very lucky to even get the results that we did.” Price and his colleague Julien Louys, a paleontologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, visited the Naturalis Museum at Leiden in the Netherlands, which keeps an extensive collection of fossil remains from the Dubois excavations in Indonesia, including the two ancient teeth found at Lida Ajer.

The new research consisted of a detailed reanalysis of the teeth, which were discovered in the Lida Ajer cave in western Sumatra by the Dutch paleoanthropologist Eugène Dubois in the 1880s.

It should be no surprise, then, that fully half of the dates are rejected.

The wonder is, surely, that the remaining half come to be accepted." By Roger Highfield, Science Editor; London Daily Telegraph (Filed: 30/06/2001) SCIENTISTS say their key tool for dating ancient artefacts might be wrong by 10,000 years, which could push back the timing of key events in history and improve understanding of climate change.

These findings suggested dramatic changes in the amount of radioactive carbon in Earth's atmosphere during the last Ice Age, much greater than previously thought, probably as a result of changes in the strength of the planet's magnetic field.

The field shields Earth from cosmic rays that create carbon-14 in the atmosphere, altering levels of the isotope during the past 45,000 years.

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