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“It was precisely as revolting as it sounds,” she says.Spalding would then spend hours chipping away to extract the necessary cells, a grisly procedure that was just the first in a decade-long stretch of hurdles she had to surmount.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, James J.Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, 74 Magruder Road, Highlands, NJ 07732, USA.“It’s an amazingly powerful tool, whether you want to look at a fat cell or a brain cell,” Spalding says.Their work has been so fruitful that it could provide them with a lifetime worth of projects.The premise of bomb pulse dating is fairly straightforward.
Normally, only a tiny fraction of the world’s carbon is 14 C, so little that scientists measure it in parts per trillion. While 14 C concentrations are still low even after the bomb pulse, the difference is obvious to scientists who know what they’re looking for.
“A geopolitical phenomenon—this Cold War bomb testing—has, in a way, put a date stamp on everything and everybody,” Spalding says.
The bomb pulse has been declining since the 1963 above-ground test ban treaty, creating a sort of clock they could exploit.
Our results show that the Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate known, and they raise concerns about species conservation.
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