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Comparing these counts with a series of 651 radiocarbon-dated samples spanning this record, they obtained a calibration curve that is very close to the 2009 calibration shown above [Callaway2012]. It should be emphasized that the actual calibrated dates are about 10%-20% older than the raw uncorrected radiocarbon dates that were once used.Compare, for example, the uncorrected line (blue dotted line) with the calibration curve (red curve).
Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.For instance, creationist Walt Brown has pointed out inconsistencies in some radiocarbon dates of mammoths -- one part was dated to 40,000 years, another to 26,000 years (and wood surrounding it to 10,000 years), and yet another to between 15,000 and 21,000 years before the present epoch [Brown2001].However, in the scientific results mentioned by Brown, the dates come from different mammoth specimens.Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.
Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.See also, on this website, articles on the ages of the geologic periods (Ages), radiometric dating (Radiometric dating), the reliability of radiometric methods (Reliability), a "time machine" for studying the distant past (Time machine) and the "uniformitarian" assumption and how it relates to evolution and the age of the Earth (Uniformitarian).