# How old is the mastodon tooth based on the Carbon-14 dating?

## Introduction

**Carbon-14 dating** is a method used to determine the age of organic materials such as bones and teeth by measuring the amount of Carbon-14 present in the sample. Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon with a half-life of about 5,000 years. By analyzing the decay of Carbon-14 in a sample, scientists can estimate the age of the material.

## Explanation

When Carbon-14 undergoes radioactive decay, it transforms into nitrogen-14. The amount of Carbon-14 in a sample decreases over time as it decays at a predictable rate. Each half-life represents the amount of time it takes for half of the Carbon-14 in a sample to decay.

In the case of the mastodon tooth mentioned in the question, if the Carbon-14 found in the tooth went through 8 half lives, it means that the initial amount of Carbon-14 has decreased significantly over time. By calculating the number of half-lives that have passed, we can estimate the age of the sample.

## Calculating the Age

Since the half-life of Carbon-14 is 5,000 years, going through 8 half lives would be 8 x 5,000 = 40,000 years. Therefore, based on the data provided, the age of the mastodon tooth is approximately 40,000 years.

It is important to note that Carbon-14 dating is just one method used by scientists to determine the age of ancient artifacts. By understanding the principles of radioactive decay and half-lives, researchers can uncover valuable information about the history of our planet and the life forms that inhabited it.