Moose teeth as monitors of environmental isotopic parameters

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The radiocarbon activities of amino acids isolated from crown first molar dentin of moose born between 1948 and 1984 on Isle Royale National Park, USA closely follows the bomb radiocarbon signal generated from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. This demonstrates that these amino acids are metabolically inert and have recorded the isotopic parameters of the environment during the first year or two of the animal's life. The moose teeth amino acids provide both carbon and nitrogen isotopic chronologies for Isle Royale for a period of nearly four decades. The carbon isotopic record reflects both anthropogenic alterations of the global atmospheric carbon cycle (the "Suess" effect), and changes in forest ecology and moose feeding habitat. The nitrogen isotopic chronology is more variable than the carbon record and is the result of environmental and biological factors which are poorly understood. © 1990 Springer-Verlag.

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