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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

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
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796