How carbon dating works chemically

Chemically, carbon-14 is no different from non-radioactive carbon atoms, so it ends up in all the usual carbon places — one trillionth of the carbon atoms in air, plants, animals and us are radioactive.

(You can read up on radioactivity and isotopes here).Carbon-14, the radioactive version of carbon, is rare — it only makes up one trillionth of all the carbon in the world.Not only that, we top up our carbon-14 levels every time we eat.And plants top up their radioactive carbon every time they turn carbon dioxide to food during photosynthesis.It's not that the radioactive carbon in air or food doesn't decay, it does.

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