The protein, which is mostly collagen, provides strength and flexibility to the bone whereas the hydroxyapatite gives the bone its rigidity and solid structure.
In theory, both organic and inorganic components can be dated.
However, the open lattice structure of the hydroxyapatite makes it highly contaminated with carbonates from ground water.
Removal of carbonate contaminants through dilute acid washing is also not applicable because hydroxyapatite is acid soluble.
Bones are one of the most common materials sent to accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) labs for radiocarbon dating.
This is because bones of animals or humans are often subjects of archaeological studies.
He first noted that the cells of all living things contain atoms taken in from the organism's environment, including carbon; all organic compounds contain carbon.
Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology, and even biomedicine.There are three carbon isotopes that occur as part of the Earth's natural processes; these are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.The unstable nature of carbon 14 (with a precise half-life that makes it easy to measure) means it is ideal as an absolute dating method.The other two isotopes in comparison are more common than carbon-14 in the atmosphere but increase with the burning of fossil fuels making them less reliable for study (2); carbon-14 also increases, but its relative rarity means its increase is negligible. After this point, other Absolute Dating methods may be used.Today, the radiocarbon-14 dating method is used extensively in environmental sciences and in human sciences such as archaeology and anthropology.