A scientist who uses carbon 14 dating is measuring

Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.

After death the amount of carbon-14 in the organic specimen decreases very regularly as the molecules decay.

Because of the short length of the carbon-14 half-life, carbon dating is only accurate for items that are thousands to tens of thousands of years old. Geologists must therefore use elements with longer half-lives.

For instance, potassium-40 decaying to argon has a half-life of 1.26 billion years and beryllium-10 decaying to boron has a half-life of 1.52 million years.

Similarly, 11460 years after an organism dies, only one quarter of its original carbon-14 atoms are still around.Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.By examining the object's relation to layers of deposits in the area, and by comparing the object to others found at the site, archaeologists can estimate when the object arrived at the site.

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Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years, meaning that every 5,700 years or so the object loses half its carbon-14.

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