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NCJRS Celebrates National Library Week April 12-18

National Library Week

Started in 1958, National Library Week is a nationwide observance celebrated by all types of libraries - including the NCJRS Virtual Library. NCJRS invites you to explore the breadth and scope of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection and services. With more than 220,000 collection documents and 60,000 online resources, including all known Office of Justice Programs works, it is one of the world’s largest criminal justice special collections.

We encourage your Feedback. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Virtual Library and Abstracts Database, how you access the collection, and any ways we can improve our services.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

How to Obtain Documents
 
NCJ Number: NCJ 237722     Find in a Library
Title: Applying Carbon-14 Dating to Recent Human Remains
  Document URL: HTML PDF 
Author(s): Philip Bulman ; Danielle McLeod-Henning
  Journal: NIJ Journal  Issue:269  Dated:March 2012  Pages:8 to 10
Date Published: 03/2012
Page Count: 3
  Series: NIJ Journal
  Annotation: This study examined whether a person’s year of birth or year of death could be determined by using precise measurements of carbon-14 levels in different post-mortem tissues.
Abstract: In order to determine year of birth, the researchers focused on tooth enamel. Adult teeth are formed at known intervals during childhood. The researchers found that if they assumed tooth enamel radiocarbon content to be determined by the atmospheric level at the time the tooth was formed, then they could deduce the year of birth. The study found that for teeth formed after 1965, enamel radiocarbon content predicted the year of birth within 1.5 years. Radiocarbon levels in teeth formed before that year contained less radiocarbon than expected, so when applied to teeth formed during that period, the method was less precise. In order to determine year of death, researchers used radiocarbon levels in soft tissues. Unlike tooth enamel, soft tissues are constantly being made and remade during life. Thus, their radiocarbon levels mirror those in the changing environment. The study found that certain soft tissues - notably blood, nails, and hair - had radiocarbon levels identical to the contemporary atmosphere. Therefore, the radiocarbon level in those tissues postmortem would indicate the year of death. Carbon-14 dating is based on the fact that over the past 60 years, environmental levels of radiocarbon have been significantly altered by mid-20th-century episodes of above-ground nuclear weapons testing. Before this, the amount of radiocarbon in the environment varied little in the span of a century. In contrast, from 1955 to 1963, atmospheric radiocarbon levels almost doubled. Since then, they have been declining toward natural levels. Over the past six decades, the amount of radiocarbon in people or their remains depends significantly on when they were born or, more precisely, when their tissues were formed. 1 figure and 2 notes
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Victim identification ; Forensics/Forensic Sciences ; Investigative techniques ; Death investigations ; Age determination
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
   
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:
https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=259754

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