Archaeological 'time machine' might answer key questions in human evolution

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Washington, Feb 12 (ANI): Scientists at Queen's University in Canada have helped produce a new archaeological 'time machine' that could answer key questions in human evolution.

The new calibration curve, which extends back 50,000 years, is a major landmark in radiocarbon dating - the method used by archaeologists and geoscientists to establish the age of carbon-based materials.

It could help research issues including the effect of climate change on human adaption and migrations.

The curve called INTCAL09, not only extends radiocarbon calibration, but also considerably improves earlier parts of the curve.

According to Dr Paula Reimer from the Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology (14CHRONO) at Queen's, "The new radiocarbon calibration curve will be used worldwide by archaeologists and earth scientists to convert radiocarbon ages into a meaningful time scale comparable to historical dates or other estimates of calendar age."

"It is significant because this agreed calibration curve now extends over the entire normal range of radiocarbon dating, up to 50,000 years before today," she said.

"Comparisons of the new curve to ice-core or other climate archives will provide information about changes in solar activity and ocean circulation," she added.

It has taken nearly 30 years for researchers to produce a calibration curve this far back in time. (ANI)

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