Queen’s University researchers have just developed a method of carbon dating that they hope will revolutionize its use in the archaeological field and help unravel mysteries that have been standing for a long time due to the limitations of current carbon dating methods.
Among the mysteries scientists are hoping this method figures out is the revolutionary discoveries in the fields of both human evolution and climate change and its effects on species. The new method owes its success to a new calibration method which extends its field of discovery by 50,000 years. Dr. Paula Reimer and Professor at the University of Sheffield set out research on the new method funded by a grant from the National Environment Research Center, also known as NERC.
The new calibration curve is expected by both researchers to revolutionize how scientists examine radiocarbon dating in their archaeological finds. Normally scientists can only carbon-date objects that came into existence up to 50,000 years ago, after which point the necessary carbon-14 present in the compounds present is too weak and can’t be picked up through the method.
If Carbon-14 dating was significantly increased in effectiveness, it would give scientists and archaeologists insight into what it was like to be human with some level of confidence without worrying about the 50,000 year wall they would have previously run into. Archaeologists are hoping this will provide information on the earliest days of mankind should anything be found and help solve some of the mysteries of current artifacts.
Imagine the possibilities of unraveling some of archaeology’s greatest mysteries now locked in cabinets awaiting their opportunity to shine. The greatest minds have thus far been unable to crack a few of the mysteries that now await mere simple testing by this new method that will reveal the dates of entire civilizations, their technology, and famous rulers in tombs.
The new method’s calibration is cutting edge technology in the field of Earth sciences as well. Frozen flora and fauna in the arctic tundra from long ago could more accurately be read and studied which could lead several newly refined theories about everything in the fields of genetics, anthropology, history, archaeology, and quite a few artifacts in natural history museums that have been left to gather dust without any explanation as to their significance.
For example, an insect in a given area, if carbon dated to have lived in a certain area could provide insight into the dietary habits of creatures in the area that could have preyed on it. Or a sufficiently preserved animal could give some insight into when the creature died and subsequently when it was most certainly not extinct. These insights are even suspected to help detail the presence of humans and help give some insight into their natural habitat during certain times in history in the past. The subject of the origins of mankind is most certainly a contentious one in scientific circles, but hopefully the new method will provide the answers that have been thus far unexplainable to modern science.