The palaeooceanography of the Arctic Ocean is less well known than any other ocean basin, due to difficulties in obtaining cores and in providing a secure chronological framework for those cores that have been raised. Most recent investigators have suggested that low sedimentation rates (0.05-0.1 cm kyr-1) have characterized the deep basins over the past 5 Myr (refs 1,2) despite the glacial-marine character of the sediment and proximity to major centres of shelf glaciation. These calculations have been primarily based on the down-core pattern in the inclination of magnetic minerals, supported by uranium-series, 14C and micropalaeontological evidence. Here we analyse amino acid diagnesis in foraminifera from two gravity cores raised from the floor of the Arctic Ocean, our results suggest that these cores span <200 kyr., conflicting with the earlier estimate of 3 Myr based on palaeomagnetic data. The chronology of other Arctic Ocean cores and previous palaeoenvironmental interpretations need re-evaluation. ?? 1984 Nature Publishing Group.