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Carbon-14 decays no matter what the chemistry. New carbon-14 is made in the atmosphere when nitrogen-14 is hit by cosmic radiation replenishing carbon-14. Living organisms continuously exchange carbon with the atmosphere. Carbon in fossils and in rocks does not. That’s why carbon dating gives the time of death rather than the time of birth but with ...


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You are correct in the fact carbon-14 does not care whether or not a life form is alive; however, this is irrelevant in the case of carbon dating. You may be familiar with the carbon cycle, which is, in a nutshell, the recycling of carbon through carbon dioxide. Plants are, of course, constantly using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to generate large bio ...


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While we are alive, we are constantly replacing our molecules. With every breath cycle, you get rid of some of your carbon (CO2). With every meal, you take in new carbon (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids). The carbon in your body gets cycled as your cells die and are replaced. This replacement process stops when you die. After this, whatever carbon remains ...


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The metabolism of living creatures keeps the dynamic equilibrium of their $\ce{^{14}C/^{12}C}$ ratio with the enviromental $\ce{^{14}C/^{12}C}$ ratio via photosynthesis, breath, food and excrements. It is not just about one time building, but also about continuous recycling of the body content. Such an equilibrium means continuous resetting of the $t=0$ ...


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There are plenty of good sources online explaining the principle behind radiocarbon dating. For instance, the wikipedia explains: During its life, a plant or animal is in equilibrium with its surroundings by exchanging carbon either with the atmosphere, or through its diet. It will therefore have the same proportion of $\ce{^14C}$ as the atmosphere, or in ...


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