This method is based on the idea of radiative decay of Carbon isotopes over thousands of years. Through physics, scientists have discovered that radioactive molecules decay at a specific rate dependent on the atomic number and mass of the decaying atoms. Scientists have concluded that very little change has occurred in the ratio of Carbon to Carbon isotopes in the atmosphere meaning that the relationship between these two should be very similar to how they remain today. Carbon dating is a revolutionary advancement in the study of the history of our planet.
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It only takes a minute to sign up. Why is radioactive or Carbon 14 dating only accurate for 60, years? In theory, there should always be at least SOME Carbon 14 in everything that was living at any given time.
When we speak of the element Carbon, we most often refer to the most naturally abundant stable isotope 12 C. Although 12 C is definitely essential to life, its unstable sister isotope 14 C has become of extreme importance to the science world. Radiocarbon dating is the process of determining the age of a sample by examining the amount of 14 C remaining against its known half-life, 5, years.
By: Marshall Brain. A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2, years ago. How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?