Age determination based on amino acid racemization: A new possibility
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A method has been developed to determine the age of fossil bone samples based on amino acid racemization (AAR). Approximately one hundred fossil bone samples of known age from Hungary were collected and analysed for D- and L-amino acids. As the racemization of amino acids is affected by temperature, pH, metal content of the soil, and time passed since death, these factors were eliminated by comparing the estimated age to age determined by the radiocarbon method. Determining the D- and L-amino acid contents in samples of known age, determining the half life of racemization and plotting the D/L ratio as a function of time, calibration curves were obtained. These curves can be used for the age estimation of samples after determining their D- and L-amino acid content. The D/L ratio for 2 to 3 amino acids was determined for each sample and the mean value of estimated ages based on calibration curves was considered to estimate age of the fossil samples.
KeywordsAmino acid racemization D-amino acids Age determination D-Ala D-Asp D-allo-Ile D-Glu D-Phe D-Val
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