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They showed that the average discrepancy between the known ages and those supplied by radiocarbon dating was 19 years.

For example, it is well known that carbon dating cannot be used on many types of marine life due to reservoirs of "old" carbon held in sedimentary rocks.

This problem is especially severe in shellfish or anything that eats shellfish; it is not unusual for freshly-killed seals to be dated as several thousand years old.

...various plants have differing abilities to exclude significant proportions of the C-14 in their intake. The varying rates at which C-14 is excluded in plants also means that the apparent age of a living animal may be affected by an animal's diet.

Manning is the director of the Cornell Tree-Ring Laboratory, and is the lead author of “Fluctuating Radiocarbon Offsets Observed in the Southern Levant and Implications for Archaeological Chronology Debates,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

He has published much other research on radiocarbon and tree-ring chronologies in the past.“We have only investigated tree-rings from AD 1610-1940 so far, but we can reasonably assume that a similar pattern of radiocarbon fluctuations occurred in the centuries before for this region,” said Manning.

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