Radiocarbon: Analysis of Inorganic Carbon of Fossil Bone and Enamel

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Science  16 Aug 1968:
Vol. 161, Issue 3842, pp. 687-688
DOI: 10.1126/science.161.3842.687


Carbon dioxide from calcium carbonate in fossil bone can be selectively separated from carbon dioxide in bone apatite by hydrolyzing the sample first in acetic acid and then in hydrochloric acid. Radiocarbon analyses of the inorganic carbon dioxide in three samples of known age clearly show calcium carbonate in fossil bone to be secondary and the carbonate of bone apatite to be indigenous and suitable for dating in some cases. Agreement between dates on collagen-bone apatite pairs increases the level of confidence.

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