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Some of those sugars are made into long chain molecules like cellulose, which makes up most of the woody, pulpy portion of trees and plants.Carbon dioxide gas also dissolves in water, sometimes forming carbonic acid.But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.Limestone (calcium ate) can introduce much older carbon to a sample giving it the appearance of age.
Radioactive samples, like carbon-14, decay at very predictable and measurable rates.
Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive.
By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.
Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.
The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.