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Ninety-nine percent of these also contain six neutrons.
The 6 proton 6 neutron atoms are said to have a mass of 12 and are referred to as "carbon-12." The nuclei of the remaining one percent of carbon atoms contain not six but either seven or eight neutrons in addition to the standard six protons.
The pathway from the plant to the molecule may have been indirect or lengthy, involving multiple physical, chemical, and biological processes.
Levels of C can represent either mixtures of modern and dead carbon or carbon that was fixed from the atmosphere less than 50,000 years ago.
Shy of a date stamp on an object, it is still the best and most accurate of dating techniques devised.
Given relatively pristine circumstances, a radiocarbon lab can measure the amount of radiocarbon accurately in a dead organism for as long as 50,000 years ago; after that, there's not enough C14 left to measure. Carbon in the atmosphere fluctuates with the strength of earth's magnetic field and solar activity.