Forensic anthropologists at The University of Arizona took advantage of this fact in a recent study funded by NIJ.
The researchers wanted to find out if they could identify a person's year of birth or year of death using precise measurements of carbon-14 levels in different post-mortem tissues.
Before the nuclear age, the amount of radiocarbon in the environment varied little in the span of a century.
In contrast, from 1955 to 1963, atmospheric radiocarbon levels almost doubled.
Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.
However, the researchers suggested that soft tissue radiocarbon content would be transferred to, and preserved in, the pupal cases of insects whose larvae feed on these tissues.
Adult teeth are formed at known intervals during childhood.
The researchers found that if they assumed tooth enamel radiocarbon content to be determined by the atmospheric level at the time the tooth was formed, then they could deduce the year of birth.
But soon these discarded discs could take on a different role: ...
The world can emit even less greenhouse gases than previously estimated in order to limit climate change to less than 2°C, a new study shows.