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# Carbon dating live animals

The Greeks and Romans had no symbol for zero, but India had "a culture that is quite happy to conceive of the void, to conceive of the infinite", Professor Du Sautoy explained.

Although this technique looks good at first, carbon-14 dating rests on at least two simple assumptions. These are, obviously, the assumption that the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere has always been constant and that its rate of decay has always been constant. Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable. An illustration may help: Imagine you found a candle burning in a room, and you wanted to determine how long it was burning before you found it. You could measure the present height of the candle (say, 7 inches) and the rate of burn (say, an inch per hour). In order to find the length of time since the candle was lit, we would be forced to make some assumptions. We would, obviously, have to assume that the candle has always burned at the same rate, and assume an initial height of the candle. The answer changes based on the assumptions. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon-14 decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere is constant. Present testing shows the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the 1950s. This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field.

Carbon (from Latin: carbo "coal") is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalentâ€”making four electrons available to form ...

Carbon dating live animals

Carbon dating live animals