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Techniques & Tools Spectroscopy

Image of the Month

7,000 Years in Tibet

Analyses of fossilized footprints on the central Tibetan plateau suggest that hardy humans resided there up to 4,000 years earlier than previously thought – long before agricultural crops were introduced. A collaborative team used three separate dating methods to analyze sedimentary quartz around imprints found on the site, and estimated that they were made between 7,400 and 12,700 years ago. This image shows a close up of the single-grain attachment with green laser used to measure the luminescence stored in individual sand-sized grains of quartz, one of the methods that allowed the research team to date the prints.

Credit: Laboratory for Luminescence Dating at the University of Innsbruck; photo by Robbie Shone.

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  1. MC Meyer et al, “Permanent human occupation of the central Tibetan Plateau in the early Holocene”, Science, 355, 64-67 (2017)
About the Author
Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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