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July 2 2013

Nuke Test Radiation Can Fight Poachers Who Kill Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos


University of Utah researchers developed a new weapon to fight poachers who kill elephants, hippos, rhinos and other wildlife. By measuring radioactive carbon-14 deposited in tusks and teeth by open-air nuclear bomb tests, the method reveals the year an animal died, and thus whether the ivory was taken illegally.

"This could be used in specific cases of ivory seizures to determine when the ivory was obtained and thus whether it is legal," says geochemist Thure Cerling, senior author of a study about the new method. It was published online the week of July 1 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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