Carbon dating material
Now living plants 'breathe' CO indiscriminately (they don't care about isotopes one way or the other), and so (while they are living) they have the same ratio of carbon 14 in them as the atmosphere.Animals, including humans, consume plants a lot (and animals that consume plants), and thus they also tend to have the same ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12 atoms.Asked by: William Baker Carbon 14 (C14) is an isotope of carbon with 8 neutrons instead of the more common 6 neutrons.
As we mentioned above, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere remains nearly constant.
2) This technique is best for dating items which died between on the order of 1000 to on the order of 1,000,000 years ago.
Carbon 14 dating is not great for dating things like a year old because if much less than 1 half-life has passed, barely any of the carbon 14 has decayed, and it is difficult to measure the difference in rates and know with certainty the time involved.
Voila, now you can tell how old a sample of organic matter is.
Some notes: 1) Obviously, this technique only works for dead organic material.