isotopic analysis of fossils

Dan Evens (
Mon, 08 Jul 1996 14:38:26 -0400

I'm kind of confused about isotopic analysis of fossils. Could
somebody give a brief description of what is going on?
- what is measured?
- how does an anomolous isotopic ratio get generated?
- how does it survive fossilization?
- what does it tell about the organism?

Now, I know about isotope use in estimating ages of various
rocks, things like Carbon-14 and Argon-40/39 are familiar to
me. But when people talk about Oxygen isotopes in fossils,
I sort of fuzz out. Any help appreciated.

The preceding are my opinions alone and have nothing
whatever to do with my employer. I don't even know what my
employer thinks. I'm not even real sure who the CEO is.
Dan Evens