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Plants and animals which utilise carbon in biological foodchains take up 14C during their lifetimes.They exist in equilibrium with the C14 concentration of the atmosphere, that is, the numbers of C14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms stays approximately the same over time.Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.
Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.
There are three principal isotopes of carbon which occur naturally - C12, C13 (both stable) and C14 (unstable or radioactive).
These isotopes are present in the following amounts C12 - 98.89%, C13 - 1.11% and C14 - 0.00000000010%.
Atoms of both isotopes of carbon contain 6 protons.
Atoms of carbon-12 have 6 neutrons, while atoms of carbon-14 contain 8 neutrons.