Scat dating sites

When the age of their samples came back at 9,320 years (plus or minus 300 years), the two knew they had found a rich new source of fossils.In the following months they collected more middens and in 1964 announced that the samples ranged in age from 7,800 to 40,000 years--the upper limit of the dating technique.

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Hence pack rat middens provide a complex and continuous fossil record in parts of the world where fossils are scarce and continuous records unheard of.

That’s why naturalists like Van Devender venture into the bowels of mountains to hack away at cement compost heaps.

At the moment he is visible only from the waist down, his other half having squeezed into a narrow fracture in the limestone wall. The lithic dung overlay looks to be at least six inches thick, and its dusty peat surface is broken by deep gouges that expose a dark, almost crystalline interior.

A hand appears, fumbling for the flashlight at his belt; a muffled voice speaks from inside the fissure. It’s this mini-Mount Rushmore of manure that Van Devender, a naturalist with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, has come to inspect--a natural wonder dating back at least to the last ice age, donated and unwittingly preserved by generations of the furry rodents known as pack rats. The same animals who’ve attained mythic stature as hoarders of multifarious junk are now gaining renown among scientists for their less-than-fastidious toilet habits.

SCAT is an acronym for Special Combat Assault Team.

The Unit comes out of the ASS (Amphibious Support Ship) and into the MOUTH (Mobile Operational Utility Tactical Helocopter) to complete it's mission.

He and a handful of fellow enthusiasts have analyzed more than 2,500 middens from caves and crevices in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California, and northern Mexico, including the Baja Peninsula.

The rich floral samples in middens have already revamped the history of desert vegetation in the Southwest.

Midden analysis has completely revised the paleoecological record of the American Southwest, says Van Devender.

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