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All carbon atoms have a nucleus containing six protons.Ninety-nine percent of these also contain six neutrons.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.
The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 50,000 ft).
Thus, as living things take in carbon, they inevitably will take up a small amount of radioactive carbon into their bodies.
When these lifeforms die, they stop taking in new carbon.
The carbon in their bodies at the time of their death will remain in their bodies until they decompose, or if they become fossilized, then forever. This allows scientists to look at the amount of decay in a fossil’s radioactive carbon and determine a relative date.
Radiocarbon dating is only effective for objects and fossils that are less than 50,000 years old.