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Examples carbon dating errors

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Specifically, each nucleus will lose an electron, a process which is referred to as decay.This rate of decay, thankfully, is constant, and can be easily measured in terms of ‘half-life’.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.

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For instance, remnants of organic matter formerly held up as solid evidence of the most recent, large-scale global warming event some 40,000 years ago may actually date back far earlier to a previous ice age.Prior to that, they had to depend on more rudimentary and imprecise methods, such as counting the number of rings on a cross-section of tree trunk.This all changed in the 1940s when US chemist Willard Libby discovered that carbon-14, a radioactive isotope, could be used to date organic compounds.However, a little more knowledge about the exact ins and outs of carbon dating reveals that perhaps it is not quite as fool-proof a process as we may have been led to believe.At its most basic level, carbon dating is the method of determining the age of organic material by measuring the levels of carbon found in it.All living things absorb both types of carbon; but once it dies, it will stop absorbing.