Does carbon dating not work metal

The C-14 combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, plants take in the radioactive carbon dioxide, animals eat the plants, and so all living things on earth have a constant level of C-14: roughly one atom in a trillion.When an organism dies, it stops taking in carbon-14 and the carbon-14 it already contains starts to decay.A real case of contamination with old carbon is that of modern sea shells that dated at 1500 years old.Critics of radiocarbon dating love to point to this case as proof that very ancient radiocarbon dates could be wildly in error, except that the shells in question were growing on limestone, and derived their carbon from the limestone rather than from the sea.There will only be 50,000 C-14 atoms left, or one count every two months!In fact, this is not how C-14 is measured - it is both too slow and too insensitive.

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Twenty half-lives, or 114,000 years, will reduce the original abundance of C-14 by about a million.You have to feel sorry for critics of radiocarbon dating.Variability of carbon-14 production is a perfectly valid concern. Between the desire to extend carbon-14 dating back in time, plus the need to test minute samples from valuable artifacts like the Shroud of Turin, counting decays is far too slow and insensitive.Whether significant amounts of carbon would have gotten deeply enough into the fibers to significantly affect the age is very questionable.Finally, with the Shroud itself being charred in a confined space, it would be far more likely to be "contaminated" with its own carbon, meaning the age should not change at all.

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