One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.
So, we have a “clock” which starts ticking the moment something dies.
Obviously, this works only for things which were once living.
You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.
Another isotope, carbon-14, is useful in studying abnormalities of metabolism that underlie diabetes, gout, anemia, and acromegaly.
Various scanning devices and techniques have been developed, including tomography...
Because the rate at which this activity decreases in time is known, the approximate age of the material can be...
And if the artifact is organic—like wood or bone—researchers can turn to a method called radiocarbon dating.
It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.
We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.
Desmond Clark (1979:7) observed that without radiocarbon dating "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation." And as Colin Renfrew (1973) aptly noted over 30 years ago, the "Radiocarbon Revolution" transformed how archaeologists could interpret the past and track cultural changes through a period in human history where we see among other things the massive migration of peoples settling virtually every major region of the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to more intensive forms of food production, and the rise of city-states.
However, as with any dating technique there are limits to the kinds of things that can be satisfactorily dated, levels of precision and accuracy, age range constraints, and different levels of susceptibility to contamination.
Newly created carbon-14 atoms were presumed to react with atmospheric oxygen to form carbon dioxide...