How to do carbon dating
From these records a “calibration curve” can be built (see figure 2, below).
Rachel Wood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.
While the lighter isotopes C has decayed that what remains can no longer be measured. In 5,730 years half of the C in the atmosphere, and therefore in plants and animals, has not always been constant.
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View the full list Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.
Luckily, we can measure these fluctuations in samples that are dated by other methods.
Tree rings can be counted and their radiocarbon content measured.