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Later, Bada and his co-workers the rate of racemization in marine sediments under laboratory conditions was determined by heating sediments with sea water in sealed ampoules at various temperatures from 100° C to about 150° C over various lengths of time.
The material was then hydrolyzed in 6 molar hydrocholoric acid (the material is hydrolyzed to break up the protein into free amino acids), and the extent of conversion of L-isoleucine to D-alloisoleucine was determined.
Thousands of human fossils enable researchers and students to study the changes that occurred in brain and body size, locomotion, diet, and other aspects regarding the way of life of early human over the past 6 million years.
Millions of stone tools, figurines and paintings, footprints, and other traces of human behavior in the prehistoric record tell about where and how early humans lived and when certain technological innovations were invented.
At a widely publicized news conference in August of 1972, Dr.
Jeffrey Bada of Scripps Institute of Oceanography announced the "discovery" of a new dating method based on the rate of racemization of amino acids in fossil material.
That is, the chemical groups attached to this particular carbon atom are all different and can be arranged in space in two different ways.
The amino acids combine with each other like the links of a chain to form a long protein chain.
Proteins contain from 50 to several hundred amino acids.
The rates obtained at these temperatures were extrapolated to 2° C and to 4° C, the present average temperatures where the deep-sea cores containing the sediment samples were obtained.
These data are believed to yield the rates at which L-isoleucine was converted to Dalloisoleucine in the sediment through geological time.
Amino acids are the "building blocks," or sub-units, of proteins.