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Following death, however, no new carbon is consumed.

As a result, there is a changing ratio of carbon-14 to the more atomically stable carbon-12 involves actually counting individual carbon-14 atoms.

This allows the dating of much older and smaller samples but at a far higher cost.

Although, organic materials as old as 100,000 years potentially can be dated with AMS, dates older than 60,000 years are still rare.

Paleoanthropologists and archaeologists must always be aware of possible radiocarbon sample contamination that could result in inaccurate dates.

Different methods have their own limitations, especially with regard to the age range they can measure and the substances they can date.