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Title: Use of handheld X-ray fluorescence as a non-invasive method to distinguish between Asian and African elephant tusks
Authors: Kittisak Buddhachat
Chatchote Thitaram
Janine L. Brown
Sarisa Klinhom
Pakkanut Bansiddhi
Kitichaya Penchart
Kanita Ouitavon
Khanittha Sriaksorn
Chalermpol Pa-In
Budsabong Kanchanasaka
Chaleamchat Somgird
Korakot Nganvongpanit
Keywords: Multidisciplinary
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2016
Abstract: We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field.
ISSN: 20452322
Appears in Collections:CMUL: Journal Articles

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