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Tools used in radiocarbon dating

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When scientists first began to compare carbon dating data to data from tree rings, they found carbon dating provided "too-young" estimates of artifact age.Scientists now realize that production of carbon-14 has not been constant over the years, but has changed as the radiation from the sun has fluctuated.Nuclear tests, nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear weapons have also changed the composition of radioisotopes in the air over the last few decades.This human nuclear activity will make precise dating of fossils from our lifetime very difficult due to contamination of the normal radioisotope composition of the earth with addition artificially produced radioactive atoms.

Although the half-life of some of them are more consistent with the evolutionary worldview of millions to billions of years, the assumptions used in radiometric dating put the results of all radiometric dating methods in doubt. Although the half-life of carbon-14 makes it unreliable for dating fossils over about 50,000 years old, there are other isotopes scientists use to date older artifacts.

Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.

This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old).

Carbon-14 cannot be used to date biological artifacts of organisms that did not get their carbon dioxide from the air.

This rules out carbon dating for most aquatic organisms, because they often obtain at least some of their carbon from dissolved carbonate rock.