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If we have a tree that is 500 years old we can measure the radiocarbon in the 500 rings and see what radiocarbon concentration corresponds to each calendar year.
Using very old trees (such as the Bristlecone Pines in the western U. A.), it is possible to make measurements back to a few thousand years ago.
To understand this process we must first understand a little bit about the atoms themselves and how they get their names.
Most carbon atoms have six positively charged protons and six uncharged neutrons.
Methuselah Methuselah is a bristlecone pine, and the world's oldest living thing.
To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.It is calculated on the assumption that the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration has always been the same as it was in 1950 and that the half-life of radiocarbon is 5568 years.For this purpose `present' refers to 1950 so you do not have to know the year in which the measurement was made.The wood in these rings once laid down remains unchanged during the life of the tree.This is very useful as a record of the radiocarbon concentration in the past.