Amino racemization dating technique
A compass needle would have pointed to the south pole during some periods and to the north pole during others.
Lava and volcanic ash deposits often contain the thermoremnant magnetic records of these reversals.
At a widely publicized news conference in August of 1972, Dr.
Jeffrey Bada of Scripps Institute of Oceanography announced the "discovery" of a new dating method based on the rate of racemization of amino acids in fossil material.
When there is only a single asymmetric carbon atom, these two different forms are known as optical isomers.
Chemically, there is very little difference between them, but biologically, there is as much difference as night and day.
Each region has its own unique master sequence since weather patterns are not the same from one area to another.
Aspartic acid (one of the 20 amino acids) is usually extracted from samples for this dating technique.
Fortunately, there are other methods available to researchers.
All trees of the same species in an area usually have roughly the same pattern of growth.
The amino acids combine with each other like the links of a chain to form a long protein chain.
Proteins contain from 50 to several hundred amino acids.
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Amino acids are the "building blocks," or sub-units, of proteins.