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Mastodons--Iowa--Franklin County; Fossils--Collection and preservation--Iowa;
A 120,000-200,000 year old mastodon tusk of species Mammut americanus, recovered from Hampton, Iowa in 1933 (right) was tested for lead using a lead test from Home Depot.1 The lead test was returned positive, so Anodic Stripping Voltammetry (ASV) was undertaken to determine the concentration of lead in the dentine material of the tusk. The lead concentration is of interest because lead could affect both the health of the conservator and researchers and also inform about the diet of the mastodon. Tusk dentine material (left) functions similarly to human teeth, and studies have shown that 90% of lead in the human body concentrates in the hard tissues: skeleton and teeth.2 Lead accumulation in teeth occurs because the calcium phosphate in teeth interacts with the stable Pb isotope, causing the calcium to be permanently replaced by the lead.3 This enables teeth to be excellent records of the level of lead in the diet and environment of the organism.
Joshua A. Sebree
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
©2017 Emma R. Shipley
Shipley, Emma R., "Determination and Quantification of Lead Content in Mammut americanus Dentine Material by Anodic Stripping Voltammetry" (2017). Mastodon Tusk Project Posters. 12.