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How Carbon Dating Works | HowStuffWorks
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Carbon dating is a technique used to determine the approximate age of once-living materials. It is based on the decay rate of the radioactive carbon isotope 14 C, a form of carbon taken in by all living organisms while they are alive. Before the twentieth century, determining the age of ancient fossils or artifacts was considered the job of paleontologists or paleontologists, not nuclear physicists. By comparing the placement of objects with the age of the rock and silt layers in which they were found, scientists could usually make a general estimate of their age.
Nearby words radioautography , radiobicipital , radiobiology , radiobroadcast , radiocarbon , radiocarbon dating , radiocarpal , radiocarpal joint , radiocast , radiocesium , radiochemical. Compare radiometric dating. Origin of radiocarbon dating First recorded in — Also called carbon dating. The 14 C decays to the nitrogen isotope 14 N with a half-life of years.