Start Aspartic acid racemization dating

Aspartic acid racemization dating

Actual age estimation depends primarily on morphology.

Due to the strong dependency of racemization rates on temperature, water concentration, and alkalinity, uncertainties regarding conditions of preservation can leave amino-acid-based age relationships among even similar fossils open to question.

Racemization is the process in which one enantiomer of a compound, such as an L-amino acid, converts to the other enantiomer.

The compound then alternates between each form while the ratio between the ( ) and (–) groups approaches 1:1, at which point it becomes optically inactive.

Age estimation by using the amino acid racemization method is based on the phenomenon of an increasing aspartic acid (Asp) enantiomer ratio (i.e., the D/L ratio) with age.