Radiocarbon dating is used for estimating the ages of
Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.
As reported in the journal , researchers analyzed hard tissue from the shells of 36 deceased hawksbill sea turtles collected since the 1950s.They were collected from the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, in cooperation with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the U. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, and Sea Life Park Hawaii.Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.Radiocarbon dating of atomic bomb fallout found in the shells of sea turtles is a reliable way to estimate the age, growth rate, and reproductive maturity of sea turtles in the wild, a new study shows.
The technique provides more accurate estimates than methods currently being used and may shed new light on factors influencing the decline and lack of recovery of some endangered sea turtles populations, researchers say.
A very small percentage of carbon, however, consists of the isotope carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which is unstable.
Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,780 years, and is continuously created in Earth's atmosphere through the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.
He first noted that the cells of all living things contain atoms taken in from the organism's environment, including carbon; all organic compounds contain carbon.
Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.
Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.