Carbon dating a fossil

Radiocarbon measurements have a range of uses, from analysing archaeological finds, to detecting fraudulent works of art, to identifying illegal ivory trading, to assessing the regeneration of brain cells in neurological patients.The new study suggests that some of these current uses will be affected over this century, depending on how much fossil fuel emissions increase or decrease."If we reduced fossil fuel emissions, it would be good news for radiocarbon dating," said the study's author, Dr Heather Graven from the Department of Physics and the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London.Radiocarbon dating has been helping put the planet’s history in the right order since it was first invented in the 1940s, giving scientists a key way to determine the age of artifacts like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.Thanks to fossil fuel emissions, though, the method used to date these famous artifacts may be in for a change.Footprints, flowers, even droppings; all of these things can be turned into fossils under the right conditions.

"If we reduced fossil fuel emissions, it would be good news for radiocarbon dating," said the study's author, Dr Heather Graven from the Department of Physics and the Grantham Institute -- Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London.Fossils are found all over the world and on every continent.A paleontologist is a scientist that studies fossils.The burning of fossil fuels is altering the ratio of carbon in the atmosphere, which may cause objects tested in the coming decades to seem hundreds or thousands of years older than they actually are, according a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.A cotton T-shirt manufactured and tested in 2050 may appear to be the same age as an artifact from the 11th century when dated using the radiocarbon method.