Radiocarbon dating example

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An isotope disintegrates at a constant rate called the half-life --the time it takes for half the atoms of a sample to decay. By counting the number of half-lives and the percentages remaining of parent and daughter isotopes, scientists are able to determine what they call the absolute age of a discovery.Carbon-14 is a specific isotope used in dating materials that were once living.

A new, more stable isotope, called the decay or daughter product, takes its place.

Radioactive dating uses the ratios of isotopes and their specific decay products to determine the ages of rocks, fossils and other substances.

Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about our Earth's past.

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