Publication Details

Gillespie, R., Fifield, L. Keith., Vladimir Levchenko, V. & Wells, R. (2008). New 14C ages on cellulose from diprotodon gut contents: explorations in oxidation chemistry and combustion. Radiocarbon: an international journal of cosmogenic isotope research, 50 (1), 75-81.


We report radiocarbon ages on cellulose isolated from the gut contents of a Diprotodon found at Lake Callabonna, South Australia. The maximum age obtained corresponds to a minimum age of >53,400 BP for this extinct giant marsupial. This is older than, and hence consistent with, the generally accepted Australian megafauna extinction window. We argue that dichromate and other strong oxidants are less selective than chlorite for lignin destruction in wood, and our results suggest that ages approaching laboratory background can be obtained using a repeated pretreatment sequence of chlorite-alkali-acid and measurement of the sometimes discarded 330 C combustion fraction.