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Radiocarbon dating (usually referred to simply as carbon-14 dating) is a radiometric dating method.It uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years old. Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5,730 years, meaning that the fraction of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5,730 years due to radioactive decay to nitrogen-14. From this science, we are able to approximate the date at which the organism were living on Earth.Radiocarbon dating is used in many fields to learn information about the past conditions of organisms and the environments present on Earth.

Different isotopes have different half-lives and sometimes more than one present isotope can be used to get an even more specific age of a fossil.You would need to have access to scientific instruments at this point that could measure the amount of radioactivity in the sample, so off to the lab we go!After you prepare your sample and put it into the machine, your readout says you have approximately 75% Nitrogen-14 and 25% Carbon-14.Below is a chart of commonly used radiometric isotopes, their half-lives, and the daughter isotopes they decay into.Let's say you found a fossil you think to be a human skeleton.

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This is what your readout said, so your fossil has undergone two half-lives.

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