This process causes a proton to be displaced by a neutron, effectively turning atoms of Nitrogen it into an isotope of carbon – known as”radiocarbon”.It is naturally radioactive and unstable, and will therefore spontaneously decay back into N-14 over a period of time. You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.Many people assume that rocks are dated at “millions of years” based on radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating. The most well-known of all the radiometric dating methods is radiocarbon dating. Carbon-14 can yield dates of only “thousands of years” before it all breaks down.
When they die, they cease to consume them, and the isotope of C-14 begins to revert back to its Nitrogen state at an exponential rate due to its radioactive decay.
It takes another 5,730 for half of the remainder to decay, and then another 5,730 for half of what's left then to decay and so on.
The period of time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is called a "half-life." Radiocarbon oxidizes (that is, it combines with oxygen) and enters the biosphere through natural processes like breathing and eating.
Plants and animals naturally incorporate both the abundant C-12 isotope and the much rarer radiocarbon isotope into their tissues in about the same proportions as the two occur in the atmosphere during their lifetimes.
When a creature dies, it ceases to consume more radiocarbon while the C-14 already in its body continues to decay back into nitrogen.