Carbon dating article
Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—, half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years. It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old.Radiocarbon present in molecules of atmospheric carbon dioxide enters the biological carbon cycle: it is absorbed from the air by green plants and then passed on to animals through the food chain.Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.A detailed description of radiocarbon dating is available at the Wikipedia radiocarbon dating web page.
As we mentioned above, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere remains nearly constant.Archaeologists now have new tools for studying the development of medieval villages and the transformation of the historical landscapes surrounding them. Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material.But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards ...Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!Carbon-14 is continually formed in nature by the interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere; the neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.