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AMS radiocarbon dating of large za baobabs (Adansonia za) of Madagascar

Patrut A., Patrut R.T., Danthu P., Leong Pock Tsy J.M., Rakosy L., Lowy D.A., Von Reden K.F.. 2016. PloS One, 11 (1) : 18 p..

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146977

The article reports the radiocarbon investigation of Anzapalivoro, the largest za baobab (Adansonia za) specimen of Madagascar and of another za, namely the Big cistern baobab. Several wood samples collected from the large inner cavity and from the outer part/exterior of the tree were investigated by AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) radiocarbon dating. For samples collected from the cavity walls, the age values increase with the distance into the wood up to a point of maximum age, after which the values decrease toward the outer part. This anomaly of age sequences indicates that the inner cavity of Anzapalivoro is a false cavity, practically an empty space between several fused stems disposed in a ring-shaped structure. The radiocarbon date of the oldest sample was 780 ± 30 bp, which corresponds to a calibrated age of around 735 yr. Dating results indicate that Anzapalivoro has a closed ring-shaped structure, which consists of 5 fused stems that close a false cavity. The oldest part of the biggest za baobab has a calculated age of 900 years. We also disclose results of the investigation of a second za baobab, the Big cistern baobab, which was hollowed out for water storage. This specimen, which consists of 4 fused stems, was found to be around 260 years old.

Mots-clés : adansonia; adansonia digitata; identification; datation au radiocarbone; taxonomie; Âge; distribution géographique; port de la plante; anatomie végétale; spectrométrie de masse; cerne; bois; adansonia grandidieri; adansonia rubrostipa; adansonia za; madagascar; architecture des arbres

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