Carbon dating in the ivory trade quest datingservice

06-Nov-2017 23:30

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A University of Michigan researcher contributed to the development of a new technique that can be used to fight poaching of elephants, hippos, rhinos and other animals.The method measures the levels of carbon-14 in tusks or teeth, which reveals the year an animal died, and thus whether the ivory was taken before or after international bans on ivory trading.The team of researchers led by Thure Cerling from University of Utah examined at least 231 ivory tusks that were confiscated by officials between 20.Cerling and his team analyzed the decay of carbon-14 isotope in these tusks to find out when the elephants had died.Some experts wonder whether the ivory trade is being fueled by corrupt governments that sell off old ivory from stockpiles or bit by bit.However, the new report affirms that scientists and governments must concentrate on protecting elephants from illegal poaching.

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So Cerling and his colleagues used "bomb carbon-14" dating to find out if the ivory was new or old."This could be used in specific cases of ivory seizures to determine when the ivory was obtained and thus whether it is legal," said University of Utah geochemist Thure Cerling, senior author of the study.U-M paleontologist Daniel Fisher worked with Cerling and a former University of Utah researcher, Kevin Uno, on the project.What's more, the recent surge in elephant deaths in Africa may likely be connected.

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"That puts to rest a speculation which has been at the back of everyone's mind," said conservation ecologist George Wittemyer of Colorado State University.Almost all the world’s illegal ivory comes from elephants that have been recently killed, researchers say.

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