Carbon dating simplified

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Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.

It is used in dating things such as bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers that were created in the relatively recent past by human activities.

A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.

How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?

Once validated, the band pair counts can provide a method for determining minimum estimates of longevity in white shark populations.Further complications arise when the carbon in a sample has not taken a straightforward route from the atmosphere to the organism and thence to the measured sample.Adult white sharks, also known as great whites, may live far longer than previously thought, according to a new study that used radiocarbon dating to determine age estimates for white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.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.By measuring the ratio, R, in a sample we can then calculate the age of the sample: T = -8033 ln(R/A) Both of these complications are dealt with by calibration of the radiocarbon dates against material of known age.

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