University of Utah researchers developed a new weapon to fight poachers who kill elephants, hippos, rhinos and other wildlife. By measuring radioactive carbon deposited in tusks and teeth by open-air nuclear bomb tests, the method reveals the year an animal died, and thus whether the ivory was taken illegally. It was published online the week of July 1 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 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. The method uses the "bomb curve," which is a graph — shaped roughly like an inverted "V" — showing changes in carbon levels in the atmosphere — and thus absorbed by plants and animals in the food chain. The carbon was formed in the atmosphere by U.
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How Nuclear Bombs Tell Us the Age of Human Cells
Age and legality of ivory revealed by carbon dating can fight poachers
The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Wednesday 24 March This article about traces of radioactive carbon being found in wine said that the last atmospheric atomic bomb tests took place in the s. That is true of American nuclear tests, but France carried on testing in the atmosphere until and China until A trace of Bikini atoll could join hints of black cherry and complex citrus notes in the sommelier's lexicon for describing fine wines, research has suggested. Harmless amounts of radioactive carbon have been found in wines made from grapes harvested since the last atmospheric atomic bomb tests were carried out in the s. But the "bomb pulse" of radioactive carbon lingering in the alcohol of wines produced since could be a good thing for wine dealers and collectors.
Age and legality of ivory revealed by carbon-14 dating can fight poachers
Quick Search. The level of radioactive carbon in wines made after is higher due to nuclear bomb testing, making it easy to identify new wine posing as century-old vintage. Atomic Bombs, a Bane to Counterfeit Winemakers. Carbon dating is already widely used to expose counterfeit vintage whiskey. A surprising characteristic revealed the true age of the malt: radioactive particles.
When mushroom clouds exploded in the sky during Cold War-era nuclear bombs testing, they also created an unexpected boon for science. The nuclear explosions caused a massive uptick in Carbon that eventually settled in all living tissue—everything from tree rings to elephant tusks to human brain cells. As such, this spike in Carbon has helped scientists date trees, find ivory poachers, and upend a decades-old dogma that new brain cells cannot be regenerated in the human brain.