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29-Feb-2016 07:16

Since then they have been dropping back toward natural levels.

Over the past six decades, the amount of radiocarbon in people or their remains depends heavily on when they were born or, more precisely, when their tissues were formed.

Forensic anthropologists at The University of Arizona took advantage of this fact in a recent study funded by NIJ.

This is how carbon dating works: Carbon is a naturally abundant element found in the atmosphere, in the earth, in the oceans, and in every living creature.

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In contrast, from 1955 to 1963, atmospheric radiocarbon levels almost doubled.Carbon-13 and carbon-14 are thus isotopes of carbon-12.Isotopes participate in the same chemical reactions but often at differing rates.Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.Now, new applications for the technique are emerging in forensics, thanks to research funded by NIJ and other organizations.

In contrast, from 1955 to 1963, atmospheric radiocarbon levels almost doubled.

Carbon-13 and carbon-14 are thus isotopes of carbon-12.

Isotopes participate in the same chemical reactions but often at differing rates.

Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.

Now, new applications for the technique are emerging in forensics, thanks to research funded by NIJ and other organizations.

The approximate time since the organism died can be worked out by measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in its remains compared to the amount in living organisms.