By measuring whether these levels of Carbon are skewed in an object being radiocarbon dated, future scientists would be able to then know if the object's levels of Carbon have been skewed by fossil fuel emissions. Unlike Carbon, this isotope of carbon is unstable, and its atoms decay into an isotope of nitrogen over a period of thousands of years. Challenges of the method The method has limitations: Samples can be contaminated by other carbon-containing materials, like the soil that surrounds some bones or labels that contain animal-based glue. Additional background is available in a well-written Wikipedia article on the topic [ Radiocarbon ], and in Richard Wiens' article [ Wiens ]. From that point forward, the amount of Carbon in materials left over from the plant or animal will decrease over time, while the amount of Carbon will remain unchanged.
And if it is completely out of date, we just drop it. This scheme can be used to date items between about years to over , years, and thus can be used to double-check and calibrate radiocarbon dates [ Optical ]. These variations, or offsets, of up to 20 years in the calibration of precise radiocarbon dating could be related to climatic conditions.