Radiocarbon dating samples


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When finding the age of an organic organism we need to consider the half-life of carbon 14 as well as the rate of decay, which is –0.693.

For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.

In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.

This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.

Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.