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The University of Waikato's radiocarbon dating laboratory helped to identify the remains of a woman found in New South Wales 45 years after she went missing.

radioactive isotopes carbon 14 dating-66

But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.

Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.

The carbon present in the gas is then converted to a small plug of a graphite/iron composite.

This is then sent to the US for analysis in a device known as an accelerated mass spectrometer.

Libby, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago, predicted that a radioactive isotope of carbon, known as carbon-14, would be found to occur in nature.