Radio carbon dating inaccuracies
“[It] traces its link to atmospheric circulation systems such as the Asian monsoon.” The new finding is important because it aligns with rising concern about the reliability of carbon dating, said Professor Liu Jinyi, specimen curator with the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing."Many alternative methods to date objects are now available, but carbon dating is still the most popular because we have used it for a long time with such ease and comfort," said Liu, who was not involved in the study."But the method should be limited to young samples, and more efforts should be made to improve its accuracy," he added.At least to the uninitiated, carbon dating is generally assumed to be a sure-fire way to predict the age of any organism that once lived on our planet.
This all changed in the 1940s when US chemist Willard Libby discovered that carbon-14, a radioactive isotope, could be used to date organic compounds.
His theory was that all living creatures have a constant proportion of radioactive and non-radioactive carbons in their body because they keep absorbing these elements from the environment.
But as soon as the creature dies it stops absorbing these and sheds any trace of carbon-14 at a decay rate of 50 per cent every 5,700 years.
Similarly, it will take another 5,730 years for the amount of carbon to drop to 25g, and so on and so forth.
By testing the amount of carbon stored in an object, and comparing to the original amount of carbon Unfortunately, the believed amount of carbon present at the time of expiration is exactly that: a belief, an assumption, an estimate.
Their work was detailed in a paper in the latest issue of the journal .