Fossil dating technology

30-Dec-2019 07:53 by 8 Comments

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"For all the wrong reasons we should be at the forefront of using ancient DNA to try and save what's left," he says.

Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.Scientists are always going to be working with tiny fragments of DNA, adds Cooper, and are always going to need specimens to have that unique set of circumstances for the DNA to be preserved."That's always going to give you a limited pool of samples to work from," he says. Australia has the highest rate of terrestrial vertebrate extinction in the last 200 years and many species on the endangered list.More than 70 per cent of devils have been infected with facial tumour disease, a contagious cancer that can spread between devils because of a lack of genetic diversity.

Recently, scientists have suggested that a population of devils in the northwest of Tasmania may be resistant to the disease because they have a different variant of the 'major histocompatibility complex' (MHC) gene family."You're taking information from the past, during, for example, periods of rapid climate change, to look at consequences that you can't gain from looking at the last few hundred years." Looking at DNA from animals that lived between 18,000 and 10,000 years ago (from just after the last glacial period to the beginning of the Holocene period) allows us to observe a huge 'experiment' as the Earth warmed, he says. is the incredible dynamism of the response of populations to climate: how violent it is; there are extinctions and migrations and replacements — huge see-sawing of populations.That's the kind of thing we absolutely need to know about if we're trying to predict what are the consequences of temperature change." But however good researchers become at inferring the future from the past, and however sophisticated technologies become, they will always be constrained by the lottery of past conditions.For Dr Mike Bunce, the skin, bones and dung of ancient Australian native animals are much more than the sum of their parts — they are a time machine to the past.Bunce, who heads the ancient DNA lab at Murdoch University in Western Australia, searches the remnants of long-dead animals and plants for clues about how to conserve their modern day descendants."So we can't really get too precious about interbreeding these populations now because in the past they were definitely connected." The research also found that the woylie has lost around 90 per cent of its genetic diversity since Europeans arrived with feral animals 200 years ago. But not all modern populations of animals can be interbred.

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