Radio carbon dating inaccuracies

But the new study suggests that the sediment might be over 80,000 years old, possibly formed during an ice age.

"The carbon-14-based mega-lake hypothesis was even incorporated into modelling work to interpret regional climate dynamics,” the paper reported.

His theory was that all living creatures have a constant proportion of radioactive and non-radioactive carbons in their body because they keep absorbing these elements from the environment.

"Many alternative methods to date objects are now available, but carbon dating is still the most popular because we have used it for a long time with such ease and comfort," said Liu, who was not involved in the study.

This rate of decay, thankfully, is constant, and can be easily measured in terms of ‘half-life’.

Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for an object to lose exactly half of the amount of carbon (or other element) stored in it.

Prior to that, they had to depend on more rudimentary and imprecise methods, such as counting the number of rings on a cross-section of tree trunk.

This all changed in the 1940s when US chemist Willard Libby discovered that carbon-14, a radioactive isotope, could be used to date organic compounds.

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