Amino acid dating
In this light, it is interesting to consider what happened in 1974 when some of the major proponents of amino acid dating (Bada et al) decided to analyze the Paleo-Indian skeletal material from Del Mar, California.Their estimated age of 48,000 years before present (BP) "stunned" the archaeological community who generally believed these bones to be less than 10,000 years old.Even the process of preparing a specimen for racemic dating can affect the D/L ratio.For example, consider that neither the structure nor the proportion of the amino acids used for dating coral, ostrich eggshell, or snail shells is known. Using"Amino acid dating cannot obtain the age of the material purely from the data itself.
These two forms are called "enantiomers", "chirals", or "stereoisomers", which basically means that they have the same molecular and structural formula but cannot be superimposed on each other no matter how they are oriented in space.
Such extrapolations have been fairly recently (1999) called into question by experiments showing that models based on high temperature kinetics fail to predict racemization kinetics at physiologic temperatures (i.e., 37 C). We argue that the D: L ratio of Asx reflects the proportion of non-helical to helical collagen "The local buffering effects of bone and shell matrixes are supposed to limit this effect, but it is still something to consider as potentially significant when acting over the course of tens of thousands to millions of years.replacement of the asparagine residue with aspartic acid resulted in a 34-fold decrease in the rate of succinimide (Asu) formation.
In turn, proteins are composed of folded strands of 20 different smaller subunits called "amino acids".
All amino acids, except for one (glycine), come in two different forms known as the levoratory (L - left) and dextrorotary (D - right) forms.
The authors of this particular paper went on to suggest that, "As conformation strongly influences the rate of Asu [cyclic succinimide] formation and hence Asx [aspartic acid + asparagine] racemization, the use of extrapolation from high temperatures to estimate racemization kinetics of Asx in proteins below their denaturation temperature is called into question . In the position carboxyl to asparagine in the peptide the replacement of glycine with a bulky amino acid such as proline or leucine resulted in a 33-50-fold decrease in the rate of deamidation"Hydrolysis, or the process of breaking down a protein into smaller and smaller fragments, clearly affects the rate of racemization.The rate itself of hydrolysis "depends on the strength of the individual peptide bonds, which in turn is determined by the characteristics of the amino acids on either side of the bond, the presence of water and the temperature."All of these are confounding factors, which, if not known exactly over extended periods of time, would play havoc with any sort of age determinations.