Accuracy of the ages of ancient DNA samples

It is generally accepted that radiometric dating is reasonably accurate and the accuracy can be improved by using different elements half-life on the same sample. It is also generally accepted that radiocarbon dating in particular can be calibrated using dendrochronology, which provides a more accurate age. However, both methods has one fundamental assumption that radio active decay rate is always a constant.

In the year 2010, scientists discovered that radioactive decay rate is not a constant 1. The authors concluded the following:

Conclusion from Power spectrum analyses of nuclear decay rates1

Then in 2011, a review of this experimental evidence does conclude the sun is indeed causing this radioactive decay rate variation 2. Let’s listen to the authors themselves.

Abstract from Analysis of Experiments Exhibiting Time-Varying
Nuclear Decay Rates: Systematic Effects or New Physics?2
Conclusion from Analysis of Experiments Exhibiting Time-Varying
Nuclear Decay Rates: Systematic Effects or New Physics?2

Then in 2012, there is additional experimental evidence for sun influencing nuclear decay rates3.

Conclusion from Additional experimental evidence for
a solar influence on nuclear decay rates3
Conclusion from Additional experimental evidence for
a solar influence on nuclear decay rates3

Again in 2013, more evidences emerge that sun is causing variations in nuclear decay rate.

Abstract from Spectral content of 22Na/44Ti decay data: implications for a solar influence.4

Then this year, in 2014,

Abstract from Comparative study of beta-decay data for eight nuclides
measured at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt5

It seems to me most researchers do agree that the nuclear decay rate does vary even to the order of 10-3, whether it is solar or not, there are difference in opinions 6.

Critics

Even the critics like Karsten Kossert who opposed never ruled out the fluctuation or variation in decay rate as mentioned in the very recent Aug-2014 newsletter from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Precise activity measurements on Cl-36 samples refute a dependence of the decay rate on the distance between the Earth and the Sun (Ref: link). They only ruled out certain factors like seasons, distance from the sun etc. Their own experiments does show variation but they say it is less. Also, they didn’t rule out the possibility of Sun’s neutrinos involvement.

Precise activity measurements on 36Cl samples refute a dependence
of the decay rate on the distance between the Earth and the Sun – Link

The critics however agree the fluctuations and the possibility of it having another origin.

Implication of 14C

Discussions on the Jenkins Fischbach Effect and 14C yield the following conclusion from the authors 7. Older bio-samples will look much older and younger samples will look much younger.

Conclusion from Implications for C-14 Dating of the Jenkins-Fischbach Effect
and Possible Fluctuation of the Solar Fusion Rate

Conclusion

Radiometric dating is useful only when the core assumption of radioactive decay rate is constant. When this is proven to vary based on external influences, then there is no guarantee that the radiometric dating can provide any reasonable age estimates. If nuclear decay rate varies based on solar activity (or any unknown external forces), so does all the estimated ages using radiometric dating , including these ancient DNA samples also varies. Hence, the ages of these ancient DNA samples are not accurate and must be used with caution. This does not mean the earth is only 6000 years old since the Bible does not support it. Please refer to the post, Why Should Christians Accept Millions of Years?


1 Javorsek II, D., P. A. Sturrock, R. N. Lasenby, A. N. Lasenby, J. B. Buncher, E. Fischbach, J. T. Gruenwald et al. “Power spectrum analyses of nuclear decay rates.” Astroparticle Physics 34, no. 3 (2010): 173-178.

2 Jenkins, Jere H., Ephraim Fischbach, Peter A. Sturrock, and Daniel W. Mundy. “Analysis of Experiments Exhibiting Time-Varying Nuclear Decay Rates: Systematic Effects or New Physics?.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1106.1678 (2011).

3 Jenkins, Jere H., Kevin R. Herminghuysen, Thomas E. Blue, Ephraim Fischbach, Daniel Javorsek II, Andrew C. Kauffman, Daniel W. Mundy, Peter A. Sturrock, and Joseph W. Talnagi. “Additional experimental evidence for a solar influence on nuclear decay rates.” Astroparticle Physics 37 (2012): 81-88.

4 O’Keefe, Daniel, Brittany L. Morreale, Robert H. Lee, John B. Buncher, J. H. Jenkins, Ephraim Fischbach, T. Gruenwald, D. Javorsek II, and Peter A. Sturrock. “Spectral content of 22Na/44Ti decay data: implications for a solar influence.” Astrophysics and Space Science 344, no. 2 (2013): 297-303.

5 Sturrock, P. A., E. Fischbach, D. Javorsek II, J. H. Jenkins, R. H. Lee, J. Nistor, and J. D. Scargle. “Comparative study of beta-decay data for eight nuclides measured at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt.” Astroparticle Physics 59 (2014): 47-58.

6 Kossert, Karsten, and Ole Nähle. “Disproof of solar influence on the decay rates of 90Sr/90Y.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1407.2493 (2014).

7 Sanders, Alvin J. “Implications for C-14 Dating of the Jenkins-Fischbach Effect and Possible Fluctuation of the Solar Fusion Rate.” arXiv preprint arXiv:0808.3986 (2008).

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments