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Article contents

New 14C Ages on Cellulose from Diprotodon Gut Contents: Explorations in Oxidation Chemistry and Combustion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Richard Gillespie
Affiliation:
Division of Archaeology and Natural History, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
L Keith Fifield
Affiliation:
Department of Nuclear Physics, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
Vladimir Levchenko
Affiliation:
Department of Nuclear Physics, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
Rod Wells
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Bedford Park SA 5042, Australia
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

We report radiocarbon ages on cellulose isolated from the gut contents of a Diprotodon found at Lake Callabonna, South Australia. The maximum age obtained corresponds to a minimum age of >53,400 BP for this extinct giant marsupial. This is older than, and hence consistent with, the generally accepted Australian megafauna extinction window. We argue that dichromate and other strong oxidants are less selective than chlorite for lignin destruction in wood, and our results suggest that ages approaching laboratory background can be obtained using a repeated pretreatment sequence of chlorite-alkali-acid and measurement of the sometimes discarded 330°C combustion fraction.

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Copyright © 2008 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

References

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