Carbon dating used forensics
This then mixes with existing atmospheric CO2, diluting the overall concentration of radioactive carbon.Dr Gordon Cook, from the radiocarbon lab at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) in Glasgow, explained: "A plant takes up the C14, an animal eats the plant, the animal looks as though it has a lower C14 activity for a living organism than it should do.The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.It is based on the fact that radiocarbon ( in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.The police chief leading the Jersey abuse inquiry says attempts to carbon date remains from at least five children are unlikely to yield results.So far, police have found 65 milk teeth and more than 100 bone fragments during their search of the former Haut de la Garenne children's home.Professor Mc Cormac explained: "The context of where they found [the human material] and the buildings around them and the strata in which they were found will typically give them more information than a carbon date would." Deputy chief officer Harper explained: "We have the evidence that the bones were placed where we found them no earlier than the late 60s/early 70s. "We have the evidence they were deliberately concealed.
Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.
The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.
Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.
All of this means that if the Haut de la Garenne remains are pre-1950s, or just on the cusp of the nuclear era, it might be difficult to distinguish them from much older remains - those, say, from the 19th or 18th Centuries.
Burial context "It's unlikely that carbon dating will be able to shed much light on the dates of these individuals," said Professor Mc Cormac.
"Nuclear bomb testing that started in the late 1950s significantly contaminated the whole of the atmosphere.