Can carbon dating be used on fossils

Can all fossils be dated with radiocarbon dates? Most fossil are dated by decay of isotopes such as Uranium , Potassium 40, and Rubidium 87 that have much longer half-lives than carbon Who decides what the geologic time scale should say? Repeated ice ages; Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis ; Smilodon and other large mammals extinct at end. First flowers attract pollinators; Tyrannosaurus-rex and other non-bird dinosaurs, pterosaurs, ammonites extinct at 65 mya.

Carbon-14 Dating Fossils

First birds; super-continent Pangea separates; giant herbivorous dinosaurs sauropods tower over small mammals. First reefs with corals, bony fish, clams, snails appear in oceans; first insects and spiders evolve on land. Living stromatolites in Shark Bay World Heritage Site of Western Australia are built by colonies of bacteria that draw energy from the sun and carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen photosynthesis. A sticky goo that surrounds the bacteria allows precipitation of minerals and entrapment of sediments, making a bulbous structure.

Scientists are still finding a few new sites where they live today but they were quite abundant on earth some 2 billion years ago, and perhaps earlier.

D: Carbon Dating and Estimating Fossil Age - Biology LibreTexts

Geologists credit stromatolite activity for creating the earth's first atmospheric oxygen and making animal life possible. Beginning of human agriculture; continents elevate rebound after Pleistocene ice melts. The age of the carbon in the rock is different from that of the carbon in the air and makes carbon dating data for those organisms inaccurate under the assumptions normally used for carbon dating.

This restriction extends to animals that consume seafood in their diet. As stated previously, carbon dating cannot be used on artifacts over about 50, years old. These artifacts have gone through many carbon half-lives, and the amount of carbon remaining in them is miniscule and very difficult to detect. Carbon dating cannot be used on most fossils, not only because they are almost always allegedly too old, but also because they rarely contain the original carbon of the organism that has been fossilized.

Also, many fossils are contaminated with carbon from the environment during collection or preservation procedures. Scientists attempt to check the accuracy of carbon dating by comparing carbon dating data to data from other dating methods. Other methods scientists use include counting rock layers and tree rings. When scientists first began to compare carbon dating data to data from tree rings, they found carbon dating provided "too-young" estimates of artifact age. Scientists now realize that production of carbon has not been constant over the years, but has changed as the radiation from the sun has fluctuated.

Triangle Association for the Science of Creation

Nuclear tests, nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear weapons have also changed the composition of radioisotopes in the air over the last few decades. This human nuclear activity will make precise dating of fossils from our lifetime very difficult due to contamination of the normal radioisotope composition of the earth with addition artificially produced radioactive atoms. The various confounding factors that can adversely affect the accuracy of carbon dating methods are evident in many of the other radioisotope dating methods. Although the half-life of some of them are more consistent with the evolutionary worldview of millions to billions of years, the assumptions used in radiometric dating put the results of all radiometric dating methods in doubt.

The following is an article on this subject. Although the half-life of carbon makes it unreliable for dating fossils over about 50, years old, there are other isotopes scientists use to date older artifacts. These isotopes have longer half-lives and so are found in greater abundance in older fossils. All of these methods are accurate only back to the last global catastrophe i.

The assumptions are similar to the assumptions used in carbon dating. The mathematical premise undergirding the use of these elements in radiometric dating contains the similar confounding factors that we find in carbon dating method. Most scientists today believe that life has existed on the earth for billions of years. This belief in long ages for the earth and the evolution of all life is based entirely on the hypothetical and non-empirical Theory of Evolution.

All dating methods that support this theory are embraced, while any evidence to the contrary, e.

Carbon 14 Dating of Fossils

Prior to radiometric dating, evolution scientists used index fossils a. A paleontologist would take the discovered fossil to a geologist who would ask the paleontologist what other fossils searching for an index fossil were found near their discovery. If it sounds like circular reasoning, it is because this process in reality is based upon circular reasoning. The process of using index fossils is describes by the late Creationist author and Ph. Henry Morris as follows:.


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All radiometric dating methods use this basic principle to extrapolate the age of artifacts being tested. After 40, years, there would be 0. Thus a sample that dates to 40, years by C14 dating still has about 7 billion C14 atoms per mole of carbon. This is still a large number of C14 atoms, and they had to come from somewhere! In general, organic matter in the fossil record dates by C14 dating to 20, to 40, years. Here are some specific results along this line; many more could be cited.

Special care was taken to prevent contamination. There are many more such results: Fossils, coal, oil, natural gas, limestone, marble, and graphite from every Flood-related rock layer—and even some pre-Flood deposits—have all contained measurable quantities of radiocarbon. All these results have been reported in the conventional scientific literature.

Relative Dating

Similarly, carefully sampled pieces of coal from ten U. Recent finds of Mary Schweitzer are also relevant for the dating of ancient bones.


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  • Even more, proteins in this tissue retain their structure. Extraordinary efforts were made to eliminate all contamination from the measuring apparatus. If there had been contamination, then it would have introduced other substances into the soft tissue. Here is a discussion of this and related finds by Brian Thomas, a creation oriented author: These two new finds join dozens of others published over the last half-century, but evolutionary scientists still have a hard time accepting that these fossils retain original biochemicals.

    Robert Service wrote in Science: The [soft tissue fossil] claims were met with howls of skepticism from biochemists and paleontologists who saw no way that fragile organic molecules could survive for tens of millions of years, and wondered whether her samples were contaminated with modern proteins. We can slow it down, but not by a lot. This shows that there are many such finds of protein in fossil specimens, and also that experts in the field have trouble seeing how proteins could survive in bone for millions of years.

    Here are more quotations from the Science article referenced above: Schroeter even went so far as to break down the mass spectrometer piece by piece, soak the whole thing in methanol to remove any possible contaminants, and reassemble the machine. Just how those collagen sequences survived for tens of millions of years is not clear. There is another dating method based on the orientation of amino acids, whether they spiral to the right D or to the left L: All biological tissues contain amino acids.

    When an organism dies, control over the configuration of the amino acids ceases, and the ratio of D to L moves from a value near 0 towards an equilibrium value near 1, a process called racemization. Thus, measuring the ratio of D to L in a sample enables one to estimate how long ago the specimen died.

    This dating method is considered to be accurate for ages up to several hundred thousand years. It is calibrated by C14 dating, and the ages given by the two methods are in close agreement after such calibration. A chart of the ratio of D to L for samples of various radiocarbon ages shows that even for samples dated to 30, or 40, years, the ratio of D to L is significantly less than one. This is additional evidence that these bones are not millions of years old. At any rate, it would be interesting to determine the D to L ratio for the proteins found in dinosaur bones.

    Another interesting fact about amino acid dating is that the transformation of L to D forms seems to occur more and more slowly the older the sample is: Many fossils have been dated both by racemization and by C14 dating. The conventional time scale assumes that racemization occurs slower and slower as we go back in time.

    If we assume that racemization occurs at a constant rate, which is a reasonable assumption, then we get a time scale that is more compressed even than the C14 time scale. This would imply that any date within 50, years by C14 dating is really at most 18, years, and even any date within a million years by conventional dating is really at most 18, years. This would imply that the dinosaur bones are also at most 18, years old! One response of evolutionary scientists to the relatively young C14 dates is to say that they are due to contamination of the bones by modern carbon, having a higher proportion of C But other times they accept C14 ages in the range of 20, to 40, years as valid.

    Also, as mentioned earlier, extraordinary methods were used to eliminate all possible contamination when measuring the C14 in these supposedly ancient bones. In addition, the preservation of soft tissue together with bone has implications for the possible contamination of the dinosaur bones.

    Based on current tests, it appears that many and perhaps all fossils with organic matter have young carbon 14 dates, and also that a significant number of dinosaur fossils have soft tissue. Thus many dinosaur bones with soft tissue should be typically found in similar environments as dinosaur bones with young C14 dates. However, it turns out that an environment that can preserve both bones and soft tissue has to be dry. If such dinosaur bones with soft tissue had been wet for a significant length of time, bacteria would have consumed the remaining proteins and there would be no soft tissue left.


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    This is how nutrients are made available to plants. But Mary Schweitzer has shown that the proteins are still there in the dinosaur bones. Thus these bones must have been dry since their burial. If this is so, then how could they be contaminated? Contamination would have to come through water flowing through the bones. However, under such acidic conditions, bone is rapidly dissolved.

    Because the soft tissues and bones are still intact, they must have been kept very dry since their burial. Perhaps a highly basic environment would inhibit bacterial growth and permit soft tissue to be preserved. But a basic environment breaks down organic matter and soft tissue: Common corrosives are either strong acids, strong bases, or concentrated solutions of certain weak acids or weak bases.

    It may attack a great variety of materials, including metals and various organic compounds, but people are mostly concerned with its effects on living tissue: Concentrated or strong bases are caustic on organic matter and react violently with acidic substances. The definition of caustic is: A strongly alkaline environment would destroy tissue because it is caustic.