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14C Dating

14C dating (pronounced carbon fourteen dating) is a radiometric dating method that determines the age of organic material by measuring the amount of carbon-14 isotopes. This method can be used to date materials up to 60,000 years old. All living organisms absorb carbon through eating or natural gas exchange and store it in their body tissues. Carbon-14 is unstable and has a half-life of 5,736 years. This means that after 5,736 years, the quantity of carbon-14 present will be reduced to half of its initial quantity. When an animal dies, it stops exchanging carbon-containing compounds with its environment and the proportion of carbon-14 gradually decreases. This decrease can be measured, which allows us to determine how long it has been since the organism stopped exchanging carbon-14 with its environment.