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Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.Unfortunately, we aren't able to reliably date artifacts beyond several thousand years.Scientists have tried to extend confidence in the carbon dating method further back in time by calibrating the method using tree ring dating.Radiocarbon dating uses the naturally occurring isotope Carbon-14 to approximate the age of organic materials. Often, archaeologists use graves and plant remains to date sites.Since its conception by Willard Libby in 1949, it has been invaluable to the discipline.New discoveries have filled in the gaps, and shown us in unimaginable detail the shape of the great ‘tree of life’.Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.
Unfortunately the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 has yet to reach a state of equilibrium in our atmosphere; there is more carbon-14 in the air today than there was thousands of years ago.Early geologists, in the 1700s and 1800s, noticed how fossils seemed to occur in sequences: certain assemblages of fossils were always found below other assemblages. Since 1859, paleontologists, or fossil experts, have searched the world for fossils.In the past 150 years they have not found any fossils that Darwin would not have expected.The half-life of Carbon $, that is, the time required for half of the Carbon $ in a sample to decay, is variable: not every Carbon $ specimen has exactly the same half life.
The half-life for Carbon $ has a distribution that is approximately normal with a standard deviation of $ years.Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.