Radiocarbon dating how stuff works

Posted by / 07-Jul-2017 20:09

This is perhaps the greatest point of potential error, as assumptions about dating can lead to circular reasoning, or choosing confirming results, rather than accepting a “wrong” date.

The other major factor affecting the results of carbon dating is gauging the original proportion of carbon-14 itself.This provides good information, but it only indicates how long ago that piece of wood was cut from a living tree.Radiocarbon dating can’t tell the difference between wood that was cut and immediately used for the spear, and wood that was cut years before being re-used for that purpose.This makes the results subject to the researchers’ assumptions about those objects.If the spear head is dated using animal bones nearby, the accuracy of the results is entirely dependent on the assumed link between the spear head and the animal.

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I recently shared a story that included radiocarbon dating.