During decay, one of the atoms gave rise to a daughter element
109, with an atomic mass of 268, and a granddaughter element 107, with a mass of 264.
Furthermore, this ancient 'backseat driver' created several daughter elements
over the course of several millions years and a relatively young daughter element
(found only in Sumatran orangutans and absent from Bornean orangutans) also appears to mobilize and has created offspring Alu copies of itself," said assistant professor Miriam Konkel.
Radiation from the inhaled mixture of radon gas and these daughter elements initiates the process of carcinogenesis in the airway and lungs.
A simplified illustration of radioactive decay forming radon and daughter elements.
When scientists find the daughter elements distributed in telltale patterns in primitive meteorites, this means that the parent SLRIs had to be created just before the meteorites themselves were formed.
The telltale patterns prove that the relevant daughter elements were not the ones that were injected.
A radioactive element's half-life is the time it takes for half of its atoms to decay into lighter so-called daughter elements