Dating in science
In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.
You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.
Beds that preserve fossils typically lack the radioactive elements needed for radiometric dating (” radiocarbon dating ” or simply “carbon dating”).
The principle of radiocarbon dating is simple: the rates at which various radioactive elements decay are known, and the ratio of the radioactive element to its decay products shows how long the radioactive element has existed in the rock.
It is also possible to estimate how long ago two living branches of a family tree diverged by assuming that DNA mutations accumulate at a constant rate.
However, these “molecular clocks” are sometimes inaccurate and provide only approximate timing.
At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.