Radiocarbon dating uses a radioactive isotope of the element

There's a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms.When they die no new carbon-14 is taken in by the dead organism.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years, meaning that every 5,700 years or so the object loses half its carbon-14.

Samples from the past 70,000 years made of wood, charcoal, peat, bone, antler or one of many other carbonates may be dated using this technique.

Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.

Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.

Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.By examining the object's relation to layers of deposits in the area, and by comparing the object to others found at the site, archaeologists can estimate when the object arrived at the site.

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