So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.Some chemical elements have more than one type of atom. Carbon has two stable, nonradioactive isotopes: carbon-12 (12C), and carbon-13 (13C).Carbon dating was developed by American scientist Willard Libby and his team at the University of Chicago.Libby calculated the half-life of carbon-14 as 5568, a figure now known as the Libby half-life.So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.The amount of carbon-14 gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay with a half-life of 5,730 years.By about ten half-lives, or 58,000 years, the amount of carbon-14 left in the fossil is very little- about 1/1000 of the original number of carbon-14 atoms in the fossil.
When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.
One standard deviation has a 68% probability and two standard deviations have a 95% probability.
Radiocarbon dating has had an enormous impact on archaeology around the world since it made it possible to date carbon and wood could be directly without dependence on characteristic artifacts or written historical records.
Since tree rings provide an annual calendar, and some trees live for thousands of years, by C-14 dating the rings themselves one could correct the radiocarbon dates and calibrate the differences. should refer to the year the method was recognized, 1950.
The Bristlecone pine trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains made this possible and today there are international tree ring databases and agreed-upon calibration curves.
The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 50,000 ft).