Quantifying the impact of µCT-scanning of human fossil teeth on ESR age results
Embargoed until: 2018-05-01
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Fossil human teeth are nowadays systematically CT-scanned by palaeoanthropologists prior to any further analysis. It has been recently demonstrated that this noninvasive technique has, in most cases, virtually no influence on ancient DNA preservation. However, it may have nevertheless an impact on other techniques, like Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating, by artificially ageing the apparent age of the sample. To evaluate this impact, we µCT-scanned several modern enamel fragments following the standard analytical procedures employed by the Dental Anthropology Group at CENIEH, Spain, and then performed ESR dose reconstruction for each of them. The results of our experiment demonstrate that the systematic high-resolution µCT-scanning of fossil hominin remains introduces a nonnegligible X-ray dose into the tooth enamel, equivalent to 15–30 Gy depending on the parameters used. This dose may be multiplied by a factor of ∼8 if no metallic filter is used. However, this dose estimate cannot be universally extrapolated to any µCT-scan experiment but has instead to be specifically assessed for each device and set of parameters employed. The impact on the ESR age results is directly dependent on the magnitude of the geological dose measured in fossil enamel but could potentially lead to an age overestimation up to 40% in case of Late Pleistocene samples, if not taken into consideration.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Copyright 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Quantifying the impact of µCT-scanning of human fossil teeth on ESR age results, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Volume 163, Issue 1, Pages 205–212, 2017 which has been published in final form at 10.1002/ajpa.23180. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving (http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html#terms)