Evolution and carbon 14 dating

So we wondered whether the radiocarbon levels relevant to dating organic material might also vary for different areas and whether this might affect archaeological dating." The authors measured a series of carbon-14 ages in southern Jordan tree rings, with established calendar dates between 16 A. They found that contemporary plant material growing in the southern Levant shows an average offset in radiocarbon age of about 19 years compared the current Northern Hemisphere standard calibration curve.Manning noted that "scholars working on the early Iron Age and Biblical chronology in Jordan and Israel are doing sophisticated projects with radiocarbon age analysis, which argue for very precise findings. But our work indicates that it's arguable their fundamental basis is faulty -- they are using a calibration curve that is not accurate for this region." Applying their results to previously published chronologies, the researchers show how even the relatively small offsets they observe can shift calendar dates by enough to alter ongoing archaeological, historical and paleoclimate debates.For example, if fossils of B date to X million years ago and the calculated “family tree” says A was an ancestor of B, then A must have evolved earlier.It is also possible to estimate how long ago two living branches of a family tree diverged by assuming that DNA mutations accumulate at a constant rate.

"We know from atmospheric measurements over the last 50 years that radiocarbon levels vary through the year, and we also know that plants typically grow at different times in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere.Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material.But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards can miss the mark -- calling into question historical timelines.Sedimentary layers: The layers of sedimentary rock, or strata, can be seen as horizontal bands of differently colored or differently structured materials exposed in this cliff.The deeper layers are older than the layers found at the top, which aids in determining the relative age of fossils found within the strata. Such index fossils must be distinctive, globally distributed, and occupy a short time range to be useful.

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