Radiocarbon dating sample preparation
Regarding small vertebrates, only two case studies were found: the Late Prehistoric dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand was dated using the commensal Pacific rat as a proxy.ivory, bone or antler), progress in sample pretreatments using ultrafiltration.While it decreases the amount of carbon required for a radiocarbon measurement by several orders of magnitude, the AMS dating of bone collagen still requires at least 60–200 mg of bone, depending on the protein preservation and the extraction protocol.The impact of sample size on collagen extraction yield is shown in Fig.
However, ultrafiltration is often associated with lower extraction yields (especially when bones are moderately to poorly preserved), and does not always allow for the recovery of a sufficient amount of collagen when sample mass is lower than 100 mg.
Measurement of the radioactivity of the sample works very well if the sample is large, but in 9 months less than 0.01% of the radiocarbon ions will decay, so in a reasonable measurement time (typically a few weeks) only a very small proportion of the radiocarbon atoms are detected by this method.
AMS, on the other hand, can in principle detect a much higher proportion (typically about 1% of the total) allowing sample sizes to be smaller by a factor of about a thousand.
A small amount of this gas is bled into a mass spectrometer where the stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen are measured.
These ratios provide useful information on the purity of the sample and clues about the diet and climatic conditions of the living organism.