Problems with using carbon dating

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So, the fossil is 8,680 years old, meaning the living organism died 8,680 years ago.This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.

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In principle, any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon 14, a radioactive form of carbon in the environment that is incorporated by all living things.But it is already clear that the carbon method of dating will have to be recalibrated and corrected in some cases.Scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Laboratory of Columbia University at Palisades, N.New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years.It is too soon to know whether the discovery will seriously upset the estimated dates of events like the arrival of human beings in the Western Hemisphere, scientists said.

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