Early methods of absolute age dating
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 remaining, scientists can pinpoint the exact date of the organism's death.
The range of conventional radiocarbon dating is 30,000 to 40,000 years.
The age of the remains of plants, animals, and other organic material can be determined by measuring the amount of carbon-14 contained in that material.
Carbon-14, a radioactive form of the element carbon, is created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays (invisible, high-energy particles that constantly bombard Earth from all directions in space).
The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute.When the organism dies, the supply stops, and the carbon-14 contained in the organism begins to spontaneously decay into nitrogen-14.The time it takes for one-half of the carbon-14 to decay (a period called a half-life) is 5,730 years.Relative dating methods are used to determine only if one sample is older or younger than another.Absolute dating methods are used to determine an actual date in years for the age of an object.