Cost of radiocarbon dating
Carbon-14 originates in the upper atmosphere of the earth and is created when neutrons originating from solar radiation bombardment collide with nitrogen in the air.
A reaction occurs and a tiny number of these collisions convert nitrogen to carbon-14.
Their bodies are said to be in “equilibrium” with carbon-14 in the air.
Although carbon-14 is radioactively decaying away in the body, it is constantly being replaced by new photosynthesis or the ingestion of food, leaving the amount relatively constant.
This process is constantly ongoing, so that at any point in time the amount of carbon-14 in living plants is the same as the amount of carbon-14 in the air around them.
Living plants are active components of the overall food chain.
When a radiocarbon dating lab doesn’t see any carbon-14 in a fossil, it knows the fossil is more than 50,000 years old.
Petroleum and dinosaur bones are examples of fossil materials that no longer have carbon-14 remaining in them.
Carbon is the basis of life and is present in all living things.It then uses this information to determine the last time the fossil was respiring carbon (i.e. A radiocarbon dating lab is able to do this using the known “half-life” of carbon-14.