Radiocarbon dating of fossils taken from caves on islands along
But one significant problem clouded the excitement over the discovery: The team doesn’t know how old the fossils are.And without that age, it’s hard to know how fits into the story of human evolution, or how to interpret its apparent habit of deliberately burying its own kind.
“If climatic changes during the PHT were the primary driver of the losses of Caribbean bats, it is difficult to understand why these species survived for at least 5,000 years before becoming extinct,” the authors write.The technique people are most likely to have heard of is carbon dating.It hinges upon the presence of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of carbon that accumulates in the bodies of animals throughout our lives, and gradually decays after we die.They excavated bat wing bones from a cave on Great Abaco, an island in the Bahamas, and dated them along with more than 2,000 bat fossils from 20 different sites in the Caribbean.“Ours are the first radiocarbon dates for bat fossils in the whole West Indies,” says Steadman, curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, in a statement.For more than 100,000 years, groundwater seeped in and eroded the limestone.
Some 7,000 years ago, the sea encroached and a large portion of the ceiling of one of these caves collapsed, leaving behind a vast oval, mostly open to the sky and filled with brackish water that didn’t dry up until the middle of the twentieth century.
The human fossil evidence from the Mladeč Caves in Moravia, Czech Republic, excavated more than 100 years ago, has been proven for the first time, through modern radiocarbon dating, to be the oldest cranial, dental and postcranial assemblage of early modern humans in Europe.
A team of researchers from the Natural History Museum in Vienna, from the University of Vienna in Austria and from the Washington University, USA recently conducted the first successful direct dating of the material.
The dating results document that these samples are as old as we thought they should be, agree Maria Teschler-Nicola from the Natural History Museum in Vienna and Erik Trinkaus from the Washington University in St.
Louis, the two anthropologists involved in this study.
M.]"The Babylonian historian Berossus [3rd century B.