Use of carbon 14 dating
Carbon-based rocks, such as bitumen and tephra, can also be dated in this manner.
Carbon dating is most effective on material that predates the 1940s; this is due to above-ground nuclear tests increasing the amount of carbon-14 in the environment.
This inconsistent amount of carbon-14 renders the test less accurate but opens up testing possibilities not available for older samples.
For example, it is possible to determine the age of a person born after the 1940s using the carbon-14 content of teeth.
How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?
Carbon dating works by comparing the amount of carbon-14 in a sample to the amount of carbon-12.
Because organisms stop taking in carbon-14 at death, the age of the material can be precisely determined by this ratio of carbon isotopes.
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