The C-12 is a very stable element and will not change form after being absorbed; however, C-14 is highly unstable and in fact will immediately begin changing after absorption.
Taken alone, however, the carbon dating is unreliable at best, and at worst, downright inaccurate. Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. The dots represent how much radioactivity was left in each actual artifact. That means that the amount of radioactivity from carbon-14 will give a very good estimate of a sample's actual age. And I'm also assuming that you know that, strictly speaking, we don't "prove" things in science; we test them, and we may come to accept them as valid, but there's always room for further testing. But probably the first real test of the method was published in 1949 by J. This is the "Curve of the Knowns": The curve represents how much radioactivity from carbon-14 decay should be left in a sample as a function of its age. The short answer is that the underlying physics behind radiocarbon dating was worked out, by many people, between the 1910s and 1940s. They measured the actual carbon-14 remaining in these, and found that it was very close to the predicted amount. There's a nice review here of how radiocarbon dating was developed: . Arnold and Libby knew how much carbon-14 should be remaining in these objects, given their known ages.