Radiocarbon dating can only be made on organic materials

Two effects also interfere with the dating of very recent samples.

Because we are measuring the abundance of two isotopes of carbon, and because isotopes of the same element will be chemically identical, no ordinary process can preferentially remove C is going to be small enough to begin with, being only 0.0000000001% of atmospheric carbon, and then as the decay process progresses it's going to get smaller and smaller.

Through photosynthesis carbon dioxide enters plants and algae, bringing radiocarbon into the food chain.

Radiocarbon then enters animals as they consume the plants (figure 2).

C-14 is produced in the upper atmosphere when nitrogen-14 (N-14) is altered through the effects of cosmic radiation bombardment (a proton is displaced by a neutron effectively changing the nitrogen atom into a carbon isotope).

The new isotope is called "radiocarbon" because it is radioactive, though it is not dangerous.

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