Isotope Geochemists,

There was a technique published in the Epstein volume:

Ajie, H.O. and Kaplan I.R.  Osteocalcin as the recommended biopolymer for
14-C age dating of bone and the C-13 and N-15 paleodietary reconsturction.
Stable Isotope Geochem.  The Geochem Soc. Spec. Publ No 3, 235-245.

In this paper the authors make a strong arguement for not using collagen,
but for using osteocalcin which is tightly bound to the hydroxyapatite
matrix and does not suffer from diagenetic effects that collagen may record.

What is the verdict on this technique, is it useful or too laborious to
analyze enough samples to be useful?

Just curious,


At 10:36 AM 2/10/00 +1300, you wrote:
>Hello Rick:
>Arguement about the suitability of 13C values from bone carbonate ( apatite
>fraction) has gone on for a while ( see, among others
>   Kreuger HW and Sullivan CH (1984) Models for Carbon Isotope fractionation
>   between diet and bone. In: Turnland, JR and Johnson, PE (eds), Stable
>   Isotopes in Nutrition, ACS Symposium Series 258, Washington DC : 205-220.,
>   Klepinger and Mintel 1986, Lee-Thorpe etal 1989a)
>   Lee-Thorp JL and van der Merwe NJSchoeninger, 1987 Carbon isotope
analysis of
>   fossil bone apatite, South African J or Sci, 83: 712-715;
>   Schoeninger, MJ, and DeNiro, MJ 1982.  Carbon isotope ratios of apatite
>   fossil bone cannot be used to reconstruct diets of animals.  Nature, 297:
>   577-578.
>   Schoeninger, MJ, and Moore, K. 1992. Bone Stable isotope studies in
>   archeology. Journal of World Prehistory, 6 (2): 247-296.
>   Sillen, A, Sealy, JC, van der Merwe, NJ 1989. Chemistry and Paleodietary
>   Research: No More Easy Answers. American Antiquity, 54 (3): 504-512.
>   Sullivan, CH, and Kreuger, HW. 1981. Carbon isotope analysis of separate
>   chemical phases in modern and fossil bone. Nature, 292 : 333-335;
DeNiro MJ
>   and Eptstein, S 1978 Geochim et Cosmochim. Acta 42: page 504 - 505 esp.)
>More recently the tendancy has indeed been to use bone protein (and other
>fractions) for dietary analysis, and so to demineralise the bone.
>Nancy Beavan Athfield
>Rafter Radiocarbon Lab
>Inst. Geological and Nuclear Sciences
William J. Showers
Associate Professor
Dept. of Marine, Earth, & Atm Sciences
North Carolina State University

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