We had questions and this was our first chance to start answering them," said Dr Julia Clarke, palaeontologist at The University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the report.
Radio Carbon Dating was discovered by Willard Libby in Chicago in 1952, and he also received a Nobel Prize for his work.
During photosynthesis plants breathe in Carbon Dioxide and make it part of their tissue. In the presence of sunlight, plants convert Carbon Dioxide and water into starch and Oxygen.
Animals later eat the plants, and incorporate both Carbon 12 and Radioactive Carbon -14 into their tissues.
The image is from Focus on Physical Science 1984 p.
All plants breathe in Carbon Dioxide, and a tiny amount of Radioactive C-14 is incorporated into their structure, using photosynthesis.
This is why many people believe that Carbon Dating is only accurate for objects less than 40,000 years old.
A Geiger counter may be used to detect radio-active elements such as C-14.
It is assumed that a sample that causes 8 clicks per minute on a Geiger counter would be 5,730 years old (the sample has gone through one half life), and so on.
A true Carbon Dating machine is obviously a far more complex machine, but the basic Mathematics and Physics used to interpret the date of the specimen is the same, and involves a number of assumptions discussed below.