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A small amount of that carbon is in the form of a radioactive isotope called in the remains of an organism or artifact, plug that value into a generalized equation, and calculate the age of those remains.
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These and many similar questions can be answered by carbon dating, a method used by archaeologists and other scientists to discover the age of ancient remains and artifacts. All living organisms on this planet are composed partially of carbon.
This process, known as carbon dating, was developed by the American chemist Willard Libby in 1947 at the Institute for Nuclear Studies at Columbia University.
Conversely, the method doesn't work on objects that are too young.
This method also cannot apply to the remains of aquatic life, because doesn't enter the ocean at an amount substantial enough for proper analysis.