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He immediately told his brother Hunter what he had found."Hunter said it was just a big fat rotten cow," Jude said. I just knew it wasn't usual."The boys' parents were not far away riding bikes.Rather than try to dig up the fossil themselves, the Sparks family decided to reach out to an expert. Houde is an anatomy professor who happens to have a passion for fossils."I've always been interested in the animals.The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more 50,000 years old.
Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).
But ours is missing one tusk and theirs had two broken tusks. But they are both extremely rare to find to a skull at all," Houde said.
Excavating the skull and tusk out of the dirt was a precarious procedure."All of the protein is gone from these fossils and the bone is very very brittle and fragile.
These artifacts have gone through many carbon-14 half-lives, and the amount of carbon-14 remaining in them is miniscule and very difficult to detect.
Carbon dating cannot be used on most fossils, not only because they are almost always allegedly too old, but also because they rarely contain the original carbon of the organism that has been fossilized.
So we started unearthing that and as soon as we realized that it was we just buried it back up and sought out the land owner to find out if we could get permission to dig it up," Houde said.