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Because it decays at a predictable rate, scientists can estimate the age of once-living tissue by measuring how much radiocarbon it still contains – the longer it’s been since the plant or creature was alive, the less radiocarbon remains.
The amount of radiocarbon in the atmosphere fluctuates, however, and scientists must account for that variability when using radiocarbon dating.
by Emily Benson Scientists use radiocarbon dating to determine the age of everything from bone and teeth to seeds and straw.
The accuracy and precision of those dates depends on careful calibration.
The trees were not worn smooth, as they might have been if they had washed downstream, indicating they were well preserved and likely grew close to where they were found.“You still see the root systems, you still see the branches,” Griggs said.