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(Source) In 2007, a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum, the oldest ever discovered, was found by a British archaeology student in Finland.The Neolithic gum, made from birch bark tar, had tooth prints in it."Birch bark tar contains phenols, which are antiseptic compounds.A couple of flutes made from bird bone and mammoth ivory came from Hohle Fels Cave in Germany, which contains early evidence of the occupation of Europe by modern humans, or Homo sapiens.Scientists used carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old.Scientists typically remove a small sample from an object, treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base, and then burn it in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas.Comparing the carbon-14 levels in the object to those expected in the atmosphere for a particular period in history allows scientists to estimate the age of an artifact. Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.
As living organisms take up radiocarbon along with other carbon atoms, the ratio between the two forms remains constant.Radiocarbon dating is one of the principal tools that archaeologists use to determine the age of the sites they investigate.As a research tool, Lifeways regularly carries out radiocarbon dating.But I realized the other day that even as an adult with a fair amount of scientific knowledge, I could not articulate exactly how or why carbon dating works.So I did a bit of research to fill in the gaps in my understanding, and not surprisingly I found the details to be quite interesting.
However when they die the radiocarbon decays and is not replaced.