Researchers at the University of Cincinnati working to develop a modeling tool to predict levels of a common element in surface water have found that the tool is remarkably useful for studying extinct and living animals, according to a release. The mathematics-based tool looks specifically at the ratio of strontium 87 to strontium 86.
Scientists at the school tested the tool with different materials to gauge its accuracy, including water, soil and vegetation. They also looked at animal tissues like the skeletal remains of fish and mammals.
The UC researchers found that the tool worked well with all of the materials, but was most successful in predicting the ratios of strontium found in mammals. From that point, they say that larger mammals produce the most accurate predictions, possibly because their sizes more closely cover the space that the model was made to deal with.