Problems using carbon 14 dating
First, the lab will test the bone to see how much protein remains in it, because it’s the protein fraction of the bone that they actually date.
People may have used the same garbage dump for over a million years. Carbon dating is the radio-activity of Carbon 14 which is unstable so it emits protons once in a while in order to become a more stable isotope.
The decay events for each sample are measured over a week.
The results from the liquid scintillation spectrometer are carefully analysed and provide a radiocarbon age for the sample.
This gas is then passed through a vanadium-based catalyst column, which produces liquid benzene (C).
A scintillator chemical (butyl-PBD) is added to the liquid benzene.
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Learn more about Tom’s work on refining radiocarbon dating and how science is advancing our understanding of human evolution through the Palaeolithic period.