Archaeology radiocarbon dating

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Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.

Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.

When a plant or animal is alive, it constantly replenishes trace amounts of radiocarbon in its tissues.Working with several collaboraters, Libby established the natural occurrence of radiocarbon by detecting its radioactivity in methane from the Baltimore sewer.In contrast, methane made from petroleum products had no measurable radioactivity.Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it.But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is.Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1950s by the American chemist Willard F.

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