Bristlecone pine and carbon dating

22 Dec

By matching ring-width patterns in a specimen of known age (starting with living specimens) to ring-width patterns in an older specimen, the proper placement of the older specimen is determined.

Tree-ring chronologies have been extended to 10,000 years before present in this way.

If the method had a large component of random error due to inaccurate pattern matching, how could such detailed agreement between the radiocarbon in the rings of two independent dendrochronologies be possible?

Separate dendrochronologies were then developed, also in America, using other types of trees, such as Douglas fir.

These separate chronologies did not extend as far back in time because these types of trees are shorter-lived.

Also, oak trees and bristlecone pine or Douglas fir trees are very different.

Bristlecones, for example, are evergreens which grow very slowly, at high altitude, in a cold, arid environment, and live for thousands of years.