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Since the half-life of Plutonium 239 is so high (even in comparison to the carbon 14 half-life of 5,730 years) humans must be very cautious of the way they dispose of plutonium.Scientists are looking for safe ways for disposing plutonium.This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.After 5,730 years, the amount of carbon 14 left in the body is half of the original amount.Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.Most importantly, exponential decay is not linear and the decrease is rapid at first, but not constant.

Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.If the fossil has 35% of its carbon 14 still, then we can substitute values into our equation.So, the fossil is 8,680 years old, meaning the living organism died 8,680 years ago.For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.