Applying Carbon-14 Dating to Recent Human RemainsApr 02, 2012
An article in the NIJ Journal titled, Applying Carbon-14 Dating to Recent Human Remains (pdf, 4 pages), reports how measuring carbon-14 levels in human tissue could help forensic scientists determine age and year of death in cases involving unidentified human remains. Researchers examined if they could identify a person’s year of birth or year of death using precise measurements of carbon-14 levels in different postmortem tissues.
The new method is based on the fact that over the past 60 years, environmental levels of radiocarbon have been significantly perturbed by mid-20th-century episodes of above-ground nuclear weapons testing. Over the past six decades, the amount of radiocarbon in people or their remains depends heavily on when they were born or, more precisely, when their tissues were formed.