Radiocarbon dating of bone apatite by step heating

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One apatite contains a small amount of carbon that—in principle—is suitable for radiocarbon dating.

However, the material will be listed as “organics” in the final report instead of “bone collagen.” This is due to the requirement by our ISO/IEC 17005 accreditation that if we did not perform the chemical pretreatments and/or extractions, we cannot specifically testify as to the material that was dated because certain steps affecting the sample quality have been outside of our control and scope of our accreditation.

An important exchange in carbon however occurs during incineration.

During incineration, the apatite not only loses carbon but will also exchange carbon with the carbon dioxide in the pyre's atmosphere.

It is possible the small sub-sample taken for the % collagen yield test is not representative of the entire bone.

The % collagen yield value should not be used as a unique identifier of bone collagen quality because it can be very misleading.

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