While there is no proof that the rates were different in the past than they are today, there is also no proof that they were the same.
Thus radioactive dating relies purely on assumptions.
Scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Laboratory of Columbia University at Palisades, N.
Y., reported today in the British journal Nature that some estimates of age based on carbon analyses were wrong by as much as 3,500 years.
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We thank you in advance for partnering with us in this small but significant way. All methods of radioactive dating rely on three assumptions that may not necessarily be true: It is assumed that the rate of decay has remained constant over time.
Libby, the discoverer of the C14 dating method, was very disappointed with this problem.
He understood that archaeological artifacts were readily available.
But it is already clear that the carbon method of dating will have to be recalibrated and corrected in some cases.
This assumption is backed by numerous scientific studies and is relatively sound.
However, conditions may have been different in the past and could have influenced the rate of decay or formation of radioactive elements.
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