The halflife of carbon 14 is 5730 ± 30 years, and the method of dating lies in trying to determine how much carbon 14 (the radioactive isotope of carbon) is present in the artifact and comparing it to levels currently present in the atmosphere.
Above is a graph that illustrates the relationship between how much Carbon 14 is left in a sample and how old it is.
The mathematical premise undergirding the use of these elements in radiometric dating contains the similar confounding factors that we find in carbon-14 dating method.
Nuclear tests, nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear weapons have also changed the composition of radioisotopes in the air over the last few decades.
This human nuclear activity will make precise dating of fossils from our lifetime very difficult due to contamination of the normal radioisotope composition of the earth with addition artificially produced radioactive atoms.
When scientists first began to compare carbon dating data to data from tree rings, they found carbon dating provided "too-young" estimates of artifact age.
Scientists now realize that production of carbon-14 has not been constant over the years, but has changed as the radiation from the sun has fluctuated.
Once our geologist had the “index fossil” that was found approximately in the same layer as the newly discovered fossil, he would then see where in the geologic column it came from and presto, he now had a date for his newly discovered fossil.
He would simply go to a chart that listed the geologic column by ‘ages’ and find the place where the index fossil appears, and thereby the geologists could tell the paleontologist how old his fossil was.
This technique is not restricted to bones; it can also be used on cloth, wood and plant fibers.
Carbon-14 dating has been used successfully on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Minoan ruins and tombs of the pharaohs among other things. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years. dinosaurs the evolution alleges lived millions of years ago.
As stated previously, carbon dating cannot be used on artifacts over about 50,000 years old.
These artifacts have gone through many carbon-14 half-lives, and the amount of carbon-14 remaining in them is miniscule and very difficult to detect.
Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts.