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When an organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon-14, and whatever is inside gradually decays into other elements.Carbon-14 normally makes up about 1 trillionth (1/1,000,000,000,000) of the earth’s atmosphere.Carbon dating is reliable within certain parameters but certainly not infallible.
Carbon dating is based on the loss of carbon-14, so, even if the present amount in a specimen can be detected accurately, we must still know how much carbon-14 the organism started with.
Due to all these factors, it’s common for carbon dating results of a particular sample, or even a group of samples, to be rejected for the sole reason that they don’t align with the “expected” results.
That’s not unusual in science, so far as it goes, but the relationship between assumptions and interpretations must be kept in mind. At worst, it can make carbon dating circular and self-confirming, though there are other means of dating that can reduce this risk.
Tiny variations within a particular sample become significant enough to skew results to the point of absurdity.
Carbon dating therefore relies on enrichment and enhancement techniques to make smaller quantities easier to detect, but such enhancement can also skew the test results. As a result, carbon dating is only plausible for objects less than about 40,000 years old.
Second, radiocarbon dating becomes more difficult, and less accurate, as the sample gets older.