No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.
Archaeology and other human sciences use radiocarbon dating to prove or disprove theories.
For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.
Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.
It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates.
It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.
However, the principle of carbon-14 dating applies to other isotopes as well.
Potassium-40 is another radioactive element naturally found in your body and has a half-life of 1.3 billion years.
Anything that dies after the 1940s, when Nuclear bombs, nuclear reactors and open-air nuclear tests started changing things, will be harder to date precisely.The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.