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Three isotopes of carbon are found in nature; carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.

Carbon-12 accounts for ~99.8 % of all carbon atoms, carbon-13 accounts for ~1% of carbon atoms while ~1 in every 1 billion carbon atoms is carbon-14.

About one carbon nucleus in a trillion contains two extra neutrons, giving a mass of 14.

This carbon-14 is radioactive and decays with a half-life of 5730 years.

As scrolls, plant-based paints or cotton shirts age over thousands of years, the radioactive carbon-14 that naturally appears in organic objects gradually decays.

The amount of carbon-14 decreases relative to the amount of normal carbon.

Nonradioactive carbon is now flooding the atmosphere, which creates a dilution effect.

Photosynthesis incorporates 14C into plants and therefore animals that eat the plants.Hereafter these isotopes will be referred to as 12C, 13C, and 14C.14C is radioactive and has a half-life of 5730 years.These well-known “aging” properties of atmospheric carbon were pinpointed for different emissions scenarios in a paper published in the yesterday.It describes how fossil fuel emissions will make radiocarbon dating, used to identify archaeological finds, poached ivory or even human corpses, less reliable.

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