# Is carbon dating appropriate for measuring the age

Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.

If the fossil has 35% of its carbon 14 still, then we can substitute values into our equation.

This half-life is very constant and will continue at the same rate forever.

The half-life of carbon is 5,730 years, which means that it will take this amount of time for it to reduce from 100g of carbon to 50g – exactly half its original amount.

Similarly, it will take another 5,730 years for the amount of carbon to drop to 25g, and so on and so forth.

By testing the amount of carbon stored in an object, and comparing to the original amount of carbon Unfortunately, the believed amount of carbon present at the time of expiration is exactly that: a belief, an assumption, an estimate.

They attempted to account for this by setting 1950 as a standard year for the ratio of C-12 to C-14, and measuring subsequent findings against that. Other times, the findings will differ slightly, at which point scientists apply so-called ‘correction tables’ to amend the results and eliminate discrepancies.

Most concerning, though, is when the carbon dating directly opposes or contradicts other estimates.

This indicated that equilibrium had not in fact been reached, throwing off scientists’ assumptions about carbon dating. Sometimes carbon dating will agree with other evolutionary methods of age estimation, which is great.When finding the age of an organic organism we need to consider the half-life of carbon 14 as well as the rate of decay, which is –0.693.For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.So, the fossil is 8,680 years old, meaning the living organism died 8,680 years ago.At least to the uninitiated, carbon dating is generally assumed to be a sure-fire way to predict the age of any organism that once lived on our planet.

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