How carbon can help stop elephant poachers Scientists are turning to radiocarbon analysis to monitor when ivory was poached. Carbon is first formed when cosmic rays in the atmosphere allow for excess neutrons to be produced, which then react with Nitrogen to produce a constantly replenishing supply of carbon to exchange with organisms. For organic objects of intermediate ages—between a few centuries and several millennia—an age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon present in the sample and comparing this against the known half-life of carbon Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
Researchers could then disregard the date and try other methods of dating the object. Using this finding Willard Libby and his team at the University of Chicago proposed that Carbon was unstable and underwent a total of 14 disintegrations per minute per gram. Messenger Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50, years. Archaeologists had used Relative Dating methods to calculate their reigns. Unfortunately, neither are straightforward to determine.