General process of radiometric dating
It might take a millisecond, or it might take a century. But if you have a large enough sample, a pattern begins to emerge.It takes a certain amount of time for half the atoms in a sample to decay.
(The nucleus of an atom is made up of protons and neutrons.) For example, the element carbon, which always has six protons in its nucleus, has three isotopes: one with six neutrons in the nucleus, one with seven, and one with eight.As long as an organism is alive, the amount of C-14 in its cellular structure remains constant.But when the organism dies, the amount of C-14 begins to decrease.Plants absorb C-14 during photosynthesis, so C-14 is incorporated into the cellular structure of plants.
Plants are then eaten by animals, making C-14 a part of the cellular structure of all living things.Scientists, using rigorous methods have established a process to eliminate this problem by calibrating radiocarbon dating results to items of a known age.