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RE: Homo sapiens idaltu



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Kimba4evr@aol.com
>
> "White said two of the skulls appear to have been scraped clean
> of flesh, suggesting an ancient mortuary practice, or possibly
> cannibalism."
>
> Isn't it possible, or even likely, that these individuals at the
> time of death had been buried as a funerary practice resulting in
> unreliable dating if the age was based on the sedimentation they
> were found in?  Is carbon dating still possible at this age?
>
>

The H. s. idaltu papers on free online at
http://www.nature.com/nature/featureoftheweek/index.html

The paper on the dating of the specimens (separate from the anatomy paper)
describes how they are dated using 40Ar/39Ar (NOT radiocarbon, which would
yield nothing of use at that age).  The specimen itself isn't dated
directly; instead, as is the case for all older material, its age is
bracketed by datable igneous units above and below it.  So: no, the funerary
practices would not in any way change the argon/argon ages.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796