Carbon has a weight of twelve atomic mass units (AMUs), and is the building block of all organic matter (plants and animals).
A small percentage of carbon atoms have an atomic weight of 14 AMUs. Carbon-14 is an unstable, radioactive isotope of carbon 12.
Plants utilize, or breath in carbon dioxide, then ultimately release oxygen for animals to inhale.
For every one trillion carbon-12 atoms, you will find one carbon-14 atoms.
The carbon-14 that results from the reaction caused by cosmic radiation quickly changes to carbon dioxide, just like normal carbon-12 would.
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That means if you took one pound of 100 percent carbon-14, in 5,730 years, you would only have half a pound left.
Carbon-14 is created in the upper atmosphere as nitrogen atoms are bombarded by cosmic radiation.