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06-Sep-2017 23:52

All living things absorb both types of carbon; but once it dies, it will stop absorbing.The C-12 is a very stable element and will not change form after being absorbed; however, C-14 is highly unstable and in fact will immediately begin changing after absorption.In principle, any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon 14, a radioactive form of carbon in the environment that is incorporated by all living things.Because it is radioactive, carbon 14 steadily decays into other substances.Specifically, there are two types of carbon found in organic materials: carbon 12 (C-12) and carbon 14 (C-14).

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Thus the ratio of stable C-12 to unstable C-14, which is known in today's open environment, changes over time in an isolated specimen. As long as the tree lives, it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, both C-12 and C-14.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.