Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/2/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Carbon 14 dating will allow easy dating of ivroy samples.

Scientists have developed a new weapon to aid in the international fight against ivory poaching. Using carbon-14 dating, they can now determine the year of an elephant's death, and thus the legal status of its ivory on the international market. The dating is a product of Cold War-era nuclear testing.

Enforcement officials pose with seized ivory.

Enforcement officials pose with seized ivory.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

7/2/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: ivory, poaching, elephant, carbon dating, carbon 14, China, illegal

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists have developed a new method of determining when an ivory tusk was poached, to within a year. That key measurement will now cheaply enable law enforcement officials to determine if ivory is being legally bought and sold, or if it has been recently poached.

Ivory harvested before 1989 is legal for trade. Any ivory taken after that date is contraband and anyone caught possessing it is subject to prosecution. However, determining the age of the ivory has been virtually impossible, until now.

Scientists have developed a method to date the ivory to within one year of its acquisition based on carbon-14 dating and they have the Cold War to thank.

During the Cold War, both the United States and Soviet Union exploded hundreds of atomic devices which filled the atmosphere with radioactive isotopes. The level of these isotopes in the atmosphere fluctuated over the years in a manner that has been charted.

Those isotopes made their way into the soil and into plants. As elephants consumed those plants, the isotopes ended up in their ivory. By dating the ivory found at the base of a tusk, scientists can now tell to within one year when an elephant died.

The method uses carbon-14 dating which is cheap and powerful. It will now allow law enforcement officials to date ivory to determine if it really is pre-1989 ivory, or if it is illegally poached ivory. This will lead to better prosecution of poachers and sellers of illegal ivory.

Conservationists are keen to protect elephants. Almost 100 elephants are being poached every day, a rate that will lead to their extinction before the end of the century. Their ivory is prized, particularly in China, where ivory is considered a status symbol. The rising wealth of the middle-class in that country is fueling demand.

A pound of ivory fetches at least $1,200 or more.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Green

Climate change underlying cause of chaos in Syria, Prince Charles declares Watch

Image of The 67-year-old prince, accused of


In an interview, Britain's Prince Charles says that failing address climate change result in the chaos that now grips Syria, plunging Europe into a refugee crisis. The prince will be speaking at a global climate summit in Paris next week. More than 100 world ... continue reading

Doomsday for Rhinos: White Rhinos facing extinction - ONLY 3 remain on Earth Watch

Image of It's too late, barring a scientific miracle for the northern white rhinoceros, however. The final three of this breed reside at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a preserve in Kenya.


Nola, one of four remaining northern white rhinoceros on Earth has been put to sleep. Suffering from a lengthy illness, Nola was put down at the San Diego Safari Park this past weekend. Once the three remaining northern white rhinos at an animal preserve in ... continue reading

Excited for El Nino? Don't be, here's why... Watch

Image of Although surfers have had to contend with more sharks, the surfing has been better. For the rest of So Cal, the eagerly awaited El Nino will bring a nasty surprise.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The El Nino continues to rage in the Equatorial Pacific, now reaching nearly six degrees Fahrenheit above normal. The hot blob of water is already affecting weather patterns and the Southwestern United States can expect a wet winter. The caveat of course, is that the ... continue reading

Will the 2015 Leonid meteor shower produce the storm of the century? Here's your guide to viewing Watch

Image of A picture of the 1833 Leonid meteor storm.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In one week, Earth will pass through a stream of cosmic debris that will produce the Leonids meteor shower. Here's everything you need to know about the shower and how to view it. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Leonid meteor shower happens every year around ... continue reading

What the heck is a cryovolcano anyway? NASA announces discovery of ice volcanoes on Pluto Watch

Image of The New Horizons image of Pluto. Far from being a boring, icy world with few features, Pluto is a surprisingly complex world full of surprises.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

What the heck is a cryovolcvano and why does Pluto appear to have them? These are questions that NASA is attempting to answer following surprising new information revealed by the New Horizons flyby mission. At least two cryovolcanoes have been spotted and NASA thinks ... continue reading

Antarctica is gaining ice, and why that doesn't mean global warming is false Watch

Image of A Snow Cat vehicle, used in an expedition to Antarctica in 1957-58. Scientists continue to study the last pristine continent on the planet, to learn what it can teach us about the rest of Earth.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new study from NASA concludes that Antarctic sea ice increased between 2003 to 2008, contrary to popular belief. These gains, all in East Antarctica, are expected to offset losses in West Antarctica. However, this discovery should not be taken to mean that global ... continue reading

World's rarest whale caught on camera for FIRST time ever and you won't believe your eyes! Watch

Image of The world's rarest whale was caught on camera (Salvatore Cerchio).


The world's rarest whale, which was previously believed to have completely died out, was caught on camera in Madagascar by a team of biologists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Omura's whales are extremely rare, so rare that scientists don't know how many still ... continue reading

San Ramon, California breaks unbelievable earthquake record Watch

Image of San Ramon, California (not pictured) breaks earthquake record (AP).


Twelve small quakes have hit San Ramon, California within eight hours on Tuesday. Most were 2.0 and under and may set a record for the most earthquakes in the same area. The record sits at Alamo, which saw 351 earthquakes within a 42-day time in 1990. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Hurricane Patricia is now the most powerful storm ever recorded, and it's about to kill a lot of people Watch

Image of A fisherman checks his boat ahead of the arrival of Patricia.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Screaming hot sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific have been spinning off storms all summer, sending tropical storms and small hurricanes into the Eastern Pacific. This year has seen a record number of storms. Now, a category 5 hurricane, Patricia, is about to ... continue reading

X-ray technology proves that California's forests irreparably traumatized by drought Watch

Image of Biologist Greg Asner insists that there is still hope.


Using X-ray technology, biologist Greg Asner took an expedition to see the effect the ongoing drought had upon California's forest ranges. Peering down from a plane at 6,000 feet, Asner found that things were far dire than previously predicted by the Forest ... continue reading

All Green News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: Thanksgiving blessings
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the ...
  • St. John Berchmans: Saint of the Day for Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, November 26, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 6:12-28
12 These men came along in a body and found Daniel praying and pleading ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74
68 Bless the Lord, dew and snow-storm, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2015 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at ... Read More