Originally Posted by Peace Warrior
ETA: I have no doubt that most scientists are rigorous in their keeping the testing material as close to original as possible. I'm sure most of them go to great lengths to prevent contamination after retrieval, but what they don't know is what happened to the sample before they collected it.
Are you suggesting that there is some process that could act upon the interior of a sample that has never been exposed to the atmosphere or ground water since its formation? Exterior surfaces and the internal surfaces of cracks and fissures, sure. But what about internal areas that have been completely sealed from all external processes? Granted, it's sometimes hard to find such an area to test if the sample is small and extremely old, but in those instances we can readily tell if we have a good sample or not and know if our dating methods will be valid in that particular instance.