If you have a fossil, you can tell how old it is by the carbon 14 dating method. This is a formula which helps you to date a fossil by its carbon. If a fossil contains 60% of its original carbon, how old is the fossil? The half life of carbon 14 is 5600 years. That means this is how long it takes for half the nuclei to decay. After 5600 years, if we start with a gram, we end up with half a gram. This rather complex formula shows you how to solve this puzzle using accepted scientific methods.