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It is too soon to know whether the discovery will seriously upset the estimated dates of events like the arrival of human beings in the Western Hemisphere, scientists said.
This carbon dioxide is no different from those produced by carbon 12 and carbon 13; hence, carbon dioxide with carbon 14 has the same fate as those produced with the other carbon isotopes.The Lamont-Doherty scientists conducted their analyses on samples of coral drilled from a reef off the island of Barbados.The samples represented animals that lived at various times during the last 30,000 years. Alan Zindler, a professor of geology at Columbia University who is a member of the Lamont-Doherty research group, said age estimates using the carbon dating and uranium-thorium dating differed only slightly for the period from 9,000 years ago to the present.The other assumption is the corollary of the first; the biosphere has the same overall concentration of radiocarbon as the atmosphere due to equilibrium.Radiocarbon’s entry into the global carbon cycle starts in the atmosphere where it is formed by the interaction of neutrons produced by cosmic rays with nitrogen atoms.
In principle, any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon 14, a radioactive form of carbon in the environment that is incorporated by all living things.