Carbon dating fossil fuels

This finding has strong and as yet unrecognized implications for many applications of radiocarbon in various fields, and it implies that radiocarbon dating may no longer provide definitive ages for samples up to 2,000 y old.

If you hear of a carbon dating up in the millions of years, you're hearing a confused report. Second, they rarely contain any of the original carbon.

We can't date oil paints, because their oil is "old" carbon from petroleum. And third, it is common to soak new-found fossils in a preservative, such as shellac.

It is produced in the upper atmosphere by radiation from the sun.

(Specifically, neutrons hit nitrogen-14 atoms and transmute them to carbon.) Land plants, such as trees, get their carbon from carbon dioxide in the air. The same is true of any creature that gets its carbon by eating such plants. Suppose such a creature dies, and the body is preserved.

Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.

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