Carbon dating fun facts
Did you ever wonder how scientists know a fossil is 10,000 years old or a piece of paper is 2,000 years old? In this lesson you'll learn about carbon dating and how it works.
Imagine going for a hike in the mountains and finding a 5,000-year-old body frozen in a block of ice!
Did you know that cloth and paper were once living things?
Cloth can be made from the wool of a sheep, or cotton, which is a plant. So when scientists find something wrapped in an old piece of cloth or find an old piece of paper with important writings on it, they can use carbon dating to find out when the items were used.
Do you know what you have in common with a tree and a dog? Carbon is an element that is found in every living thing on planet Earth. One form of carbon inside living things is called carbon-14.
Carbon-14 is a radioactive form of carbon, which sounds scary, but it's not dangerous, it just means that it's not stable, so after an organism dies, carbon-14 decays or goes away.
However, it is also used to determine ages of rocks, plants, trees, etc.