Dating objects

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Geologists measure the abundance of these radioisotopes instead to date rocks.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.

Scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Laboratory of Columbia University at Palisades, N.

Once the organism dies, it stops replenishing its carbon supply, and the total carbon-14 content in the organism slowly disappears.

Scientists can determine how long ago an organism died by measuring how much carbon-14 is left relative to the carbon-12.

Accurate tree ring records of age are available for a period extending 9,000 years into the past.

But the tree ring record goes no further, so scientists have sought other indicators of age against which carbon dates can be compared.

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