Radioactive carbon dating is useful for approximately
In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.Although the half-life of some of them are more consistent with the evolutionary worldview of millions to billions of years, the assumptions used in radiometric dating put the results of all radiometric dating methods in doubt. Although the half-life of carbon-14 makes it unreliable for dating fossils over about 50,000 years old, there are other isotopes scientists use to date older artifacts.These isotopes have longer half-lives and so are found in greater abundance in older fossils.Other methods scientists use include counting rock layers and tree rings.When scientists first began to compare carbon dating data to data from tree rings, they found carbon dating provided "too-young" estimates of artifact age.
The age of the carbon in the rock is different from that of the carbon in the air and makes carbon dating data for those organisms inaccurate under the assumptions normally used for carbon dating.Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.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.