Radiocarbon dating is used to
The researchers wanted to find out if they could identify a person's year of birth or year of death using precise measurements of carbon-14 levels in different post-mortem tissues.They measured carbon-14 levels in various tissues from 36 humans whose birth and death dates were known.
They found that for teeth formed after 1965, enamel radiocarbon content predicted year of birth within 1.5 years.
The researchers found that certain soft tissues — notably blood, nails and hair — had radiocarbon levels identical to the contemporary atmosphere.
Therefore, the radiocarbon level in those tissues post-mortem would indicate the year of death.
Archaeologists have long used carbon-14 dating (also known as radiocarbon dating) to estimate the age of certain objects.
Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.