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Some examples of abnormal C14 results include testing of recently harvested, live mollusc shells from the Hawaiian coast that showed that they had died 2000 years ago and snail shells just killed in Nevada, USA, dated in at 27,000 years old.
The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that plant and animal tissue levels of carbon-14 remain relatively constant during life, but taper off at a predictable rate in surviving remains. Typically, traces of radiocarbon can be detected in organic remains up to 50,000 years old.
The unreliability of carbon 14 date testing is a great concern to honest archaeologists.
They get particularly concerned when C14 testing shows obviously inaccurate results and they are left in uncertainty about the reliability of the dates that they have previously never questioned.
For radiocarbon dating to be reliable scientists need to make a number of vital assumptions.
Firstly, Dr Libby assumed that C14 decays at a constant rate.
However, experimental evidence indicates that C14 decay is slowing down and that millennia ago it decayed much faster than is observed today.