Radioactive carbon dating is useful for approximately

Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.If the fossil has 35% of its carbon 14 still, then we can substitute values into our equation.Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.

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The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more 50,000 years old.Carbon-14 cannot be used to date biological artifacts of organisms that did not get their carbon dioxide from the air.After 5,730 years, the amount of carbon 14 left in the body is half of the original amount.If the amount of carbon 14 is halved every 5,730 years, it will not take very long to reach an amount that is too small to analyze.

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