Recent radiocarbon dating

They found that for teeth formed after 1965, enamel radiocarbon content predicted year of birth within 1.5 years.Radiocarbon levels in teeth formed before then contained less radiocarbon than expected, so when applied to teeth formed during that period, the method was less precise.Before the nuclear age, the amount of radiocarbon in the environment varied little in the span of a century.In contrast, from 1955 to 1963, atmospheric radiocarbon levels almost doubled.They measured carbon-14 levels in various tissues from 36 humans whose birth and death dates were known.To determine year of birth, the researchers focused on tooth enamel.In recent years, forensic scientists have started to apply carbon-14 dating to cases in which law enforcement agencies hope to find out the age of a skeleton or other unidentified human remains.

Archaeologists have long used carbon-14 dating (also known as radiocarbon dating) to estimate the age of certain objects.Forensic anthropologists at The University of Arizona took advantage of this fact in a recent study funded by NIJ.The researchers wanted to find out if they could identify a person's year of birth or year of death using precise measurements of carbon-14 levels in different post-mortem tissues.Once an organism dies the carbon is no longer replaced.Because the radiocarbon is radioactive, it will slowly decay away.

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