How are fossils dated using carbon dating

Carbon dating is the most famous form of “radiometric dating”.

By measuring the trace amounts of radioactive carbon-14 (so named because it has 6 protons and 8 neutrons) in a dead something and comparing it to the amount of regular carbon-12 (6 protons and 6 neutrons) you can figure out how long it’s been since that sample was alive.

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Yet we have tens of thousands of the higher orders of species with perfectly matched sexually sets of males and females.At that time there would have been zero lead in it. So it was, after years of attempting to measure the age of the Earth (or, more specifically, the time since it was last molten) in a regular lab, that Clair Patterson bravely announced “Dudes and dudettes of science… ” Turns out that burning gasoline, among its other little known deleterious effects, throws lead into the air.Since carbon-14 has a half-life on the order of thousands of years, it’s useful for figuring out the age of organic materials that have been independent of the atmosphere for thousands of years. That’s not great: once everything on Earth is peppered with lead, it’s difficult for scientists to do their science.A less sophisticated word for midden is “pile of garbage and often poo”.Generally speaking, archaeologists make the assumption that if the grains in and around of a clay pot are, say, 8,000 years old, then the pot itself is roughly the same age. If you had an ancient amphora sitting around, would you use it for fresh strawberry preserves? A life spent potentially confusing future archaeologists is a life well spent.Carbon-14 is continuously generated in the upper atmosphere when stray neutrons bombard atmospheric nitrogen (which is what most of the atmosphere is).


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