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Radioactive Dating One quarter (1/4) of a Smilodon skull is composed of C14. After two “half-life” periods, ¼ of the skull would contain C14 and ¾ of the skull would contain N14.

The skull would be 11,400 years old.5,700 years C14 = isotope N14 = stable decay product Radioactive Dating A fossilized Smilodon Skull weighs 100 kg.

The skull has been preserved well and C14 and N14 are both present in the skull.

The ratio of C14 to N14 is 1:1 and therefore the skull is estimated to have an absolute age of 5,700 years old. C14 has a half life of 5,700 years.5,700 years After one “half-life” period, ½ of the skull would contain C14 and ½ of the skull would contain N14.

The isotope (parent element) will slowly release energy from its nucleus and change into a stable form (Daughter element) over time.

A half-life is the time required for half of the isotope (Parent material) of a given material to change to its stable form (Daughter Material).

These elements are considered to be stable Isotopes have unequal numbers of protons and neutrons and usually a higher mass. Neutron Proton C12 – Element: Stable form C14 – Isotope: Unstable form Atomic mass Atomic Number (Number of protons)Radioactive Decay The nucleus of many isotopes is unstable.

The nucleus of an unstable isotope will release energy in its process to become more stable.

RADIOACTIVE DECAY DATAPARENT MATERIAL DAUGHTER MATERIAL (ISOTOPE) (STABLE DECAY PRODUCT) C 14 N14 Half-life: 5,700 years C14 = isotope N14 = stable decay product The skull of a Smilodon was extracted from a tar pit in Southern California.

These subatomic particles determine the mass of the atom.