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That’s according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published Monday. Graven of Imperial College London found that carbon emissions from fossil fuels are artificially raising the carbon age of the atmosphere, making objects today seem older to a carbon dater.

Radiocarbon dating works by measuring how much the fraction of carbon-14 versus non-radioactive carbon in an object has changed and therefore how long the object has been around.If emissions continue as they have for the past few decades, then by year 2050 a shirt made in that year (2050) will have the same C-14 signature as a shirt worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years earlier.Radiocarbon dating revealed that the Turin Shroud, the sacred linen cloth believed by Christians to be the burial garment of Christ, was actually less than 1000 years old.Carbon dating had never been, and likely never again will be, quite so glamorous — or so controversial.And, thanks to atmospheric changes caused by the burning of fossil fuels, it could become even more complicated.In radiocarbon dating terms this makes the atmosphere appear older, which is reflected in the tissues of plants taking in CO2 during photosynthesis, and their products such as cottons.At the rate fossil fuel emissions are currently increasing, by 2050 a new T-shirt would have the same radiocarbon date as a robe worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years earlier.Thanks to fossil fuel emissions, though, the method used to date these famous artifacts may be in for a change.The burning of fossil fuels is altering the ratio of carbon in the atmosphere, which may cause objects tested in the coming decades to seem hundreds or thousands of years older than they actually are, according a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Taco Cowboy writes: The carbon dating method used in determining the age of an artifact is based on the amount of radioactive carbon-14 isotopes it contains.The C-14 within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon isotopes, but since the organism is absorbing more C-14 during its life, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 remains about the same as the ratio in the atmosphere.