What is a fossil?
A fossil is the remains or imprint of a plant or animal that has been preserved in petrified form or cast in a mold by natural processes.
How are they formed?
Fossils are formed in a variety of ways. The most common is when an organism dies and is buried by sediment. As the sediment accumulates, it applies pressure to the organism, which causes it to change shape. Over time, the sediment turns to stone and the organism is preserved in its new form.
What is Carbon-14 dating?
Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of organic material by measuring theradioactive decay of carbon-14. Carbon-14 is an isotope of carbon that is found in all living organisms. When an organism dies, the carbon-14 starts to decay at a known rate. By measuring the amount of carbon-14 in a sample, you can calculate how long ago the organism died.
How is the half-life of Carbon-14 used to date fossils?
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, which means that after 5,730 years, half of the original amount of Carbon-14 will have decayed. This can be used to date fossils, since the level of Carbon-14 in a fossil can be compared to the level of Carbon-14 in a living organism to determine how long ago the fossil was formed.
How old is the fossil?
When a fossil is found, and it has a 14c level of 880, this means that the fossil is 880 years old. This is because the 14c level refers to the amount of carbon-14 in the fossil, and the carbon-14 decays at a known rate.
Using the Carbon-14 level, what is the age of the fossil?
Assuming that the fossil has a 14C level of 880 and that the levels of 14C in living organisms is known, the age of the fossil can be determined. The age of the fossil is calculated by comparing the 14C levels in the fossil to the 14C levels in living organisms and using the known half-life of 14C.