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.
However, tree ring specialists have refused to subject their judgments to these statistical tests and would not release their data so others can do these statistical tests" (Walt Brown, In the Beginning, 2001, p. This refusal to submit their work to close scrutiny raises a reasonable concern, especially in light of the apparent circular reasoning employed by the researchers. Despite 35 years of technical refinement and better understanding, the underlying assumptions have been strongly challenged, and warnings are out that radiocarbon may soon find itself in a crisis situation.These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carbon dating.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of the dating technique, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct.If the ratio has fluctuated throughout the unobservable past (and we can be sure that it has), how can we determine what the ratio was during the lifetime of a specimen that lived and died before we first began measuring the ratio?Advocates of the Carbon dating method have turned to "Dendrochronology" (a.k.a.