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The procedure of radiocarbon dating can be used for remains that are up to 50,000 years old. Carbon-14 dating can be used on objects ranging from a few hundred years old to 50,000 years old.Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.

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Libby and others (University of Chicago) devised a method of estimating the age of organic material based on the decay rate of carbon-14.

is the quantity of radioactive material at time zero, X is the amount remaining after time t, and k is the first order rate constant, which is a characteristic of the isotope undergoing decay.

But in a dead organism, no new carbon is coming in, and its carbon 14 gradually begins to decay.

So by measuring carbon 14 levels in an organism that died long ago, researchers can figure out when it died.

Nowadays, radiocarbon scientists had to perform calibration not only to convert their radiocarbon year results into calendar year but also to take into account the various factors that have major effects on the global levels of carbon 14, one of which is nuclear weapons testing.

There are two human activities recognized to have irreparably changed the global radiocarbon levels—the burning of fossil fuel and nuclear weapons testing.

Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.

The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay.

The other assumption is the corollary of the first; the biosphere has the same overall concentration of radiocarbon as the atmosphere due to equilibrium.

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