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Thus, as living things take in carbon, they inevitably will take up a small amount of radioactive carbon into their bodies.
When these lifeforms die, they stop taking in new carbon.
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Scientists know how fast carbon-14 decays, so by measuring how much of it is remaining in a dead organism, they can figure out how long it has been dead.
When scientists chipped the Iceman out of the block of ice he was found in, they tested his body to see how many carbon-14 atoms were remaining, which told them his age.
Carbon has different isotopes, which are usually not radioactive; C is the radioactive one, its half-life, or time it takes to radioactively decay to one half its original amount, is about 5,730 years.
The relatively short-lived C taken into organic matter is also slightly variable. However, under about 20,000 years the results can be compared with dendrochronology, based on tree rings.
The amount of carbon-14 gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay with a half-life of 5,730 years.
So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.For the most accurate work, variations are compensated by means of calibration curves.The method was developed by Willard Libby and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in 1949.Plants take in atmospheric carbon dioxide by photosynthesis, and are ingested by animals.So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.Carbon combines with other elements in complex ways to form the molecules that make up our bodies.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating