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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bomb radiocarbon in metabolically inert tissues from terrestrial and marine mammals

  • Author(s): Bada, Jeffrey L
  • Vrolijk, Christian D
  • Brown, Stephen
  • Druffel, Ellen R. M
  • Hedges, Robert E. M
  • et al.

We report here radiocarbon measurements of monkey eye lens nucleus proteins and a narwhal tusk, biological tissues which have sampled the bomb radiocarbon signal in different ways. The results confirm the metabolic inertness of eye lens nucleus proteins and demonstrate the feasibility of measuring radiocarbon in small samples of biological tissue using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The narwhal tusk provides a unique record of the radiocarbon activity in Arctic Ocean waters over most of the 20th century.

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