Dating of recent skeletal material (osteological specimens)

LUNDY THOMAS J lundyt at spot.Colorado.EDU
Tue Jun 27 20:17:08 EST 1995


Has anyone know of ways to estimate how long that an osteological specimen
has been hanging around?  This question involves some apsects of the
Endangered Species Act, as the possesion of the remains of certain
endangered species in not an offense, if the specimens were collected before
certain dates. 

I have been able to come up with a few possibilities.

1) The deterioration of the specimen itself may offer a clue, especially the 
cracking of the teeth seen in unskillfully stored specimens.

2) With repsect to confirming if specimens were collected previous to the
1940s, perhaps examining the levels of certian radioisotopes that are a 
result of nuke testing could prove profitable.  I know that an increase in
the level of isotopes such as strontium 90 have been remarked upon,
but I have not seen many of the details presented anywhere.  I would
appreciate it if anyone knows of a reference where this sort of thing is
presented in a systematic fashion.

I would also be interested in hearing if evidence of this kind has ever
been used to obtain a conviction under the E.S.A. Thanks, Tom Lundy



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