Scientific problems with carbon dating

01 Dec

When I have asked an audience this question they have looked at me incredulously and said, “Starting time?” You cannot know how long the swimmer took unless you knew the time on the wristwatch when the race started.And you have to check to make sure he touches the edge at the end of each lap.Without these observations you cannot be sure that the time is valid.A swimming race illustrates the simple principles involved in measuring time.

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Methods fall into one of two categories: relative or absolute.

Paleontologists still commonly use biostratigraphy to date fossils, often in combination with paleomagnetism and tephrochronology.

A submethod within biostratigraphy is faunal association: Sometimes researchers can determine a rough age for a fossil based on established ages of other fauna from the same layer — especially microfauna, which evolve faster, creating shorter spans in the fossil record for each species.

One of the most popular dating methods, carbon-14 (14C), is used for dating plant or animal remains.

The book explains the basis for this method: “Radiocarbon is continuously created in the atmosphere through bombardment of nitrogen-14 (14N) by neutrons created by cosmic radiation.