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The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.
The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.
Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.
The resulting data, in the form of a calibration curve, is now used to convert a given measurement of radiocarbon in a sample into an estimate of the sample's calendar age.
A shellfish alive today in a lake within a limestone catchment, for instance, will yield a radiocarbon date which is excessively old.
The rise of the peak on the northern hemisphere, where the tests were made, is only a year earlier than on the southern hemisphere.Omnivores and carnivores lag the atmosphere further because their carbon sources are another step removed.However, it has been confirmed that atmospheric C concentration with the date.The atmospheric concentration of C becomes the fingerprint of this radioisotope in a given year's food supply.Herbivores lag the atmosphere slightly because their primary carbon source is on the order of months old.