What is radiocarbon dating yahoo answers
This carbon dioxide, now radioactive with carbon-14, is otherwise chemically indistinguishable from the normal carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is slightly lighter because it contains normal carbon-12.
Radioactive and non-radioactive carbon dioxide mix throughout the atmosphere, and dissolve into the oceans.
The carbon-14 in their bodies breaks down to nitrogen-14 and escapes at the same rate as new carbon-14 is added. CARBON-14 IS DEPLETED (Figure 1c): When an animal dies the carbon-14 continues to break down to nitrogen-14 and escapes, while no new carbon-14 is added.
By comparing the surviving amount of carbon-14 to the original amount, scientists can calculate how long ago the animal died.
Although many people think radiocarbon dating is used to date rocks, it is limited to dating things that contain the element carbon and were once alive (like fossils).You just need to measure the level of carbon 14 remaining in the thing you are studying, do the maths, and bingo!