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Scientists are optimistic about the techniques as a means to combat fraud in rare foods and beverages.
Nicknamed “Lucy,” the mysterious skeleton was eventually classified as a 3.2 million-year-old “Australopithecus afarensis”—one of humankind’s earliest ancestors.
The paleoanthropologist—then a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland—was several weeks into his third expedition to Hadar, Ethiopia, a site that had proven to be a treasure trove of early fossil remains.
His international field team had already found leg bones and several jaws that were among the oldest examples of hominids—the family of bipedal primates that includes humans and their ancestors—and Johanson was convinced that an even bigger discovery was in the offing.
These tools range from 1.75 million years old (far left) to 0.85 million years old (far right).
If you want to know the precise age of something, absolute dating techniques are the only option.Follow the links below to learn more about radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dating uses carbon isotopes A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating What is an isotope?