Benefits of radiocarbon dating

Scientists can study samples from the once-live creatures' remains to see how much radioactive Autotrophs are organisms that can "make their own food" from an inorganic source of carbon (carbon dioxide) given a source of energy.

Most autotrophs use sunlight in the process of photosynthesis to make..Photosynthesis is the name of the process by which autotrophs (self-feeders) convert water, carbon dioxide, and solar energy into sugars and oxygen.

Animals (and other heterotrophs) get their carbon by eating plants or other animals, from decaying organic matter, or from other similar sources.

Some of the carbon is a radioactive isotope called carbon-14 (C gradually undergoes radioactive decay, transforming it into nitrogen, and therefore gradually "disappears".

The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.

The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years— during the succeeding 5,730 years.

This pushed the calibration back beyond recorded history almost to 10,000 BP (years before the present.) One valuable source of samples of various ages came from a bristlecone pine tree called "Methuselah" in the White-Inyo mountain range of California.The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained. The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.

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Other corrections must be made to account for the proportion of throughout the biosphere (reservoir effects).

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