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This is accomplished using wood specimens found preserved, for example, in historic buildings, or on the forest floor, or in peat bogs.The rings in a non-living specimen can be counted to determine the number of years the specimen spans.Thus, as living things take in carbon, they inevitably will take up a small amount of radioactive carbon into their bodies.When these lifeforms die, they stop taking in new carbon.
All living things on Earth are made up of a high percentage of an element called carbon.
Generally, it is not possible to construct a complete sequence of tree rings back through the historical periods using only living trees.
Chronologies derived from living trees must be extended.
The carbon in their bodies at the time of their death will remain in their bodies until they decompose, or if they become fossilized, then forever. This allows scientists to look at the amount of decay in a fossil’s radioactive carbon and determine a relative date.
Radiocarbon dating is only effective for objects and fossils that are less than 50,000 years old.
However, scientists can look at the decay of other elements in these objects allowing them to date them up to 2.2 billion years.