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The radiocarbon test on the humic acid Tom Stafford, Stafford Research, Inc., extracted from inside the Paramylodon bone came back this week: 5434 to 5305 years before present. We had assumed the humic acid entered the bone canal system after death but clearly there is recent contamination. We planned to do the same test on the Megalonyx astragalus but given this result have decided the money can be better spent. Any hope of linking the Paramylodon, which was found in a gravel deposit a short distance downstream from Megalonyx site, to our trio now rests on an analysis of rare earth elements deposited immediately post mortem , or finding more bones in situ.
Tests on the Megalonyx are more hopeful– Robert Feranec, Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, New York State Museum, managed to extract a small amount of collagen from a molar while he was assisting Alex Bryk, Penn State, with a stable isotope analysis. Bob had to do 7 separate extractions, but he got plenty. To his eye, the collagen “looks fine. ” It weighed about 2.5mg. That’s not a lot, but enough. An AMS radiocarbon date should be available from Woods Hole next month. . . . Dave