Is carbon dating correct
When an organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon-14, and whatever is inside gradually decays into other elements.Carbon-14 normally makes up about 1 trillionth (1/1,000,000,000,000) of the earth’s atmosphere.Most archaeological items can’t be directly carbon dated, so their dating is based on testing done on nearby objects or materials.This makes the results subject to the researchers’ assumptions about those objects.Due to all these factors, it’s common for carbon dating results of a particular sample, or even a group of samples, to be rejected for the sole reason that they don’t align with the “expected” results.That’s not unusual in science, so far as it goes, but the relationship between assumptions and interpretations must be kept in mind. At worst, it can make carbon dating circular and self-confirming, though there are other means of dating that can reduce this risk.Radiocarbon dating can’t tell the difference between wood that was cut and immediately used for the spear, and wood that was cut years before being re-used for that purpose.Nor can it tell if a much older spearhead was attached to a brand-new shaft.
Complicating matters is the fact that Earth’s carbon-14 concentrations change drastically based on various factors.
Even then, a large proportion of radiocarbon dating tests return inconsistent, or even incoherent, results, even for tests done on the same sample.
The explanation given for these outliers is usually “contamination.” Inconsistent results are another reason why multiple samples, multiples tests, and various parallel methods are used to date objects.
For example, a steel spearhead cannot be carbon dated, so archaeologists might perform testing on the wooden shaft it was attached to.
This provides good information, but it only indicates how long ago that piece of wood was cut from a living tree.
So even brand-new samples contain incredibly tiny quantities of radiocarbon.