Amino acid dating has an important attribute in common with Carbon 14 dating.While most other dating mechanisms date the rock surrounding fossils, both Amino Acid and Carbon 14 dating .This means that the amino acid can have two different configurations, "D" or "L" which are mirror images of each other.With a few important exceptions, living organisms keep all their amino acids in the "L" configuration.The reason for this is that Asu formation is highly conformation dependent and is predicted to occur extremely slowly in triple helical collagen.As conformation strongly in£uences the rate of Asu formation and hence Asx racemization, the use of extrapolation from high temperatures to estimate racemization kinetics of Asx in proteins below their denaturation temperature is called into question.
Radiocarbon dating of the fossil specimen indicates a lifespan of 700 ± 100 years, the longest yet documented for any octocoral.
When an organism dies, control over the configuration of the amino acids ceases, and the ratio of D to L moves from a value near 0 towards an equilibrium value near 1, a process called racemization.
Thus, measuring the ratio of D to L in a sample enables one to estimate how long ago the specimen died.
These effects restrict amino acid chronologies to materials with known environmental histories and/or relative intercomparisons with other dating methods.
Temperature and humidity histories of microenvironments are being produced at ever increasing rates as technologies advance and technologists accumulate data.