Carbon Datable Materials Not all materials can be radiocarbon dated. How many grams of Carbon will be present in the hippos remains after 3 half-lives have passed? Obviously, the limit of the method differs between laboratories dependent upon the extent to which background levels of radioactivity can be reduced. Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.
During the lifetime of an organism, carbon is brought into the cell from the environment in the form of either carbon dioxide or carbon-based food molecules such as glucose; then used to build biologically important molecules such as sugars, proteins, fats, and nucleic acids. It turns out to be radioactive and decays over time. Problems If when a hippopotamus was breathing there was a total of 25 grams of Carbon, how many grams will remain years after he is laid to rest? He is credited to be the first scientist to suggest that the unstable carbon isotope called radiocarbon or carbon 14 might exist in living matter.