Amino acid racemization dating method


14-Jun-2020 13:13

(To hear a radio interview with George, visit The only other animals with similarly long life spans are the giant tortoise and the giant clam, which some have claimed can live about 150 and 220 years, respectively.

They needed scientific data, however, to prove the whales’ longevity.

For example, a shoe is chiral: you cannot turn a left-foot shoe into a right-foot shoe by turning it round or flipping it over.

On the other hand, an object such as a table-knife is not chiral: if you have it lying on the table so that the blunt edge is on the right and the serrated edge is on the left, then you can produce the mirror-image of this situation by rotating the knife around its long axis. For example, consider the two molecules in the picture to the right.

By conducting aspartic acid racemization measurements using an HPLC/fluorescence detection method, Bada analyzed the bowhead’s eye lenses to estimate the whale’s age at the time of death (2).The proteins in each lens nucleus were acid hydrolyzed into free amino acids, which were then derivatized.



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