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Atom Bombs to the Ivory Rescue

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The international wildlife convention makes it illegal to sell any ivory after 1947. A Scotland-based scientist has now discovered a novel and cheap technique to find out whether the ivory is legal. It uses, of all things, the radiation of nuclear weapons.  It has been patented by Dr Ross McEwing, a forensic zoologist at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, who has taken advantage of the glut of carbon 14 that entered the atmosphere during nuclear weapons testing in the testy 1950s and 1960s. These isotopes were absorbed by the world’s animals and plants. This means that elephants alive before 1947 can be identified by their low levels of carbon 14.