Radiocarbon dating be


The net effect of this is that all living organisms have the same radiocarbon to stable carbon ratio as the atmosphere.Once an organism dies the carbon is no longer replaced.Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.The carbon-14 method was developed by the American physicist Willard F. It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old.

When isotopes are to be designated specifically, the chemical symbol is expanded to identify the mass (for example, C is not stable.Plant eating animals (herbivores and omnivores) get their carbon by eating plants.All animals in the food chain, including carnivores, get their carbon indirectly from plant material, even if it is by eating animals which themselves eat plants.Because the radiocarbon is radioactive, it will slowly decay away.Obviously there will usually be a loss of stable carbon too but the proportion of radiocarbon to stable carbon will reduce according to the exponential decay law: R = A exp(-T/8033) where R is C ratio of the living organism and T is the amount of time that has passed since the death of the organism.The method is widely used by Pleistocene geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and investigators in related fields.

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