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Radiocarbon dating may only be used on organic materials.

Typically (6): The above list is not exhaustive; most organic material is suitable so long as it is of sufficient age and has not mineralised - dinosaur bones are out as they no longer have any carbon left.

In its most conventional form, dendrochronology works like this. They have no bias, and they have no political agenda; they just stand at locations all over the world," says Charlotte Pearson, an assistant professor of dendrochronology at the UA, studies samples under a microscope.

A contemporary tree—that is, a tree that was either just cut down or still living—can tell you not just how many years it has lived, but which years in which it lived. Credit: credit: Mari Cleven But what if the wood is older?

Dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating have intertwined histories, she explains, with roots firmly planted at the UA.

In 1979, Desmond Clark said of the method “we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation” (3).

Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C-14 into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.

When the organisms die, they stop incorporating new C-14, and the old C-14 starts to decay back into N-14 by emitting beta particles.

Radiocarbon dating has been helping put the planet’s history in the right order since it was first invented in the 1940s, giving scientists a key way to determine the age of artifacts like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.

Thanks to fossil fuel emissions, though, the method used to date these famous artifacts may be in for a change.

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The older an organism's remains are, the less beta radiation it emits because its C-14 is steadily dwindling at a predictable rate.

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