Carbon dating at

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Carbon dating is somewhat accurate because we are able to determine what the ratio was in the unobservable past to a certain extent.By taking a carboniferous specimen of known age (that is, a specimen which we are able to date with reasonable certainty through some archaeological means), scientists are able to determine what the ratio was during a specimen's lifetime.

is a term for radiocarbon dating based on timestamps left by above-ground nuclear explosions, and it is especially useful for putting an absolute age on organisms that lived through those events.As we mentioned above, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere remains nearly constant.It’s not absolutely constant due to several variables that affect the levels of cosmic rays reaching the atmosphere, such as the fluctuating strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, solar cycles that influence the amount of cosmic rays entering the solar system, climatic changes and human activities.But when gas exchange is stopped, be it in a particular part of the body like in deposits in bones and teeth, or when the entire organism dies, the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 begins to decrease.The unstable carbon-14 gradually decays to carbon-12 at a steady rate. Scientists measure the ratio of carbon isotopes to be able to estimate how far back in time a biological sample was active or alive.

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