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The ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the atmosphere and on earth is nearly constant, although there has been some change in carbon-14 concentration over the last 10,000 years.
Carbon-14 in the bodies of animals and plants is constantly decaying.
Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.
This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but teachers should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs which are over 65 million years old).
These collisions create secondary cosmic rays in the form of energentic neutrons.
When these neutrons collide with nitrogen-14 in the atmosphere carbon-14 can be created.