Actually, its bacteria and elephants and monkeys and humans, oh my! Geochronology (the determination of a rock's age) has a wide variety of applications; one of which is placing absolute age constraints on evolution. The New Mexico Geochronology Research Laboratory mainly focuses on projects in New Mexico and the Southwestern USA. However, in a role that fulfills its broader commitment to the scientific community, projects are undertaken from throughout the world. Recent collaborations with geologists, archeologists, and biologists have lead to exciting advances in our understanding of
- Mammal evolution in South America, including a refinement of when North American and South American critters began walking the present land bridge between the continents,
- When humans arrived in Java, Indonesia, and
- Confirmation that bacteria have lived in salt crystals found near the WIPP site in New Mexico for more than 200 million years
Publication and/or submission of these findings are being recognized in internationally acclaimed journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature, Science, and Geology.