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When a plant or animal dies, it stops taking in carbon.Since the carbon-14 decays, comparing the current ratio to the predicted C ratio vs. To sum up these assumptions, if you know the initial conditions, the final conditions, and everything in between, you will get the right answer.All plants take in carbon from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A carbon-14 atom is radioactive; it eventually loses an electron and a neutrino and changes to nitrogen-14.
It is worse, in that the rings are very thin, and roughly 5% of the time the tree either does not grow a ring in a year or else grows two rings.(On the other hand, if you don't like puns, you might not.) So if you believe your assumptions, use good methods, what could go wrong?Well, it turns out the problems with early carbon-14 were so severe, that many historians were on the verge of abandoning it.So, by comparing many different trees in a forest in South Germany, and performing radiocarbon dating on a large number of samples, a calibration scale was developed.Other researchers did similar work in a forest in Northern Germany.