Radiocarbon dating of extinct fauna in the Americas recovered from tar pits

A. J.T. Jull, M. Iturralde-Vinent, J. M. O'Malley, R. D.E. MacPhee, H. G. McDonald, P. S. Martin, J. Moody, A. Rincón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We have obtained radiocarbon dates by accelerator mass spectrometry on bones of extinct large mammals from tar pits. Results on some samples of Glyptodon and Holmesina (extinct large mammals similar to armadillos) yielded ages of >25 and > 21 ka, respectively. We also studied the radiocarbon ages of three different samples of bones from the extinct Cuban ground sloth, Parocnus bownii, which yielded dates ranging from 4960±280 to 11880±420 yrBP. In order to remove the tar component pretreat the samples sufficiently to obtain reliable dates, we cleaned the samples by Soxhlet extraction in benzene. Resulting samples of collagenous material were often small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-671
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Bones
  • Extinct fauna
  • Radiocarbon
  • Tar pits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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