Radiocarbon Dating Might Not Be Completely Accurate, Changing the Shift of History (Study)


Tree rings visible in half of a tree stump

Radiocarbon dating might not be the most foolproof dating method

For many decades, researchers counted on radiocarbon dating to identify the age of fossils or other biological components. However, a recent research from scientists at Cornell University suggests this dating method isn’t the most accurate. These are major findings, as they can lead to great changes in the world’s timeline.

Radiocarbon dating assesses the age of organic material

Scientists have always assumed that radiocarbon dating is a foolproof method to build the historical and geological timeline of Earth. However, Cornell researchers decided to run some tests and make sure this method is the best. For this, they looked at 20 years’ worth of calibration data from the archaeologically relevant area of southern Levant.

Through radiocarbon dating, researchers can identify how old organic fossils are. Then, it gets easier to place them in certain archaeological eras. However, if this method is not entirely foolproof, the entire history of the world might be changed.

When the radiocarbon method was still new, researchers used the same value for calibration curves in both hemispheres. This practice was so common since scientists thought radiocarbon levels remained stable everywhere across a hemisphere. However, this latest study challenged the old convictions.

This dating method might come with some serious inaccuracies

Judging from the atmospheric conditions, they realized radiocarbon levels have varied for the past 50 years. Also, plants and other organic materials don’t really develop the same on both hemispheres. Therefore, researchers started looking at radiocarbon levels over a longer period of time, and the impact of these changes on world’s historical timeline.

By looking at tree samples from the region of Levant, they discovered a discrepancy of 19 years between reality and the standard values of the calibration curve. While this doesn’t look like a significant difference, it can still produce a discrepancy in the natural history of archaeological eras, creating serious debates.

There have been many studies that relied on radiocarbon dating, so this discovery might seriously alter plenty of scientific results. The study on these inaccuracies was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Image source: Flickr


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