Hello, Are there any anthropologists, archaeologists, or geologists around on this board for help? I am trying to teach myself about radioactive decay via beta emission whereby a neutron spontaneously transmutes into a proton, releasing an electron. But, I do not understand the practical side. For instance, carbon-14 decays to become nitrogen on average about every 5,730 years. When an animal dies, its carbon-12 remains constant, carbon-14 decays to nitrogen. A scientist compares a sample of carbon-14 to nitrogen. I just can get the academic material -- if I had 14 grams of carbon-14 and 14 grams of nitrogen in an animal bone, I can guess that it started with 28 grams of carbon-14, 0 grams of nitrogen (a huge assumption). But, how does a scientist actually do this? How does a scientist get started? What exactly is done? I find an animal bone. What exactly do I do to find out how much material of carbon-14 there is and how much nitrogen there is, to compare? How does someone find out exactly how much of each there is? Creationists claim this first step is fraught with so many assumptions that the first step establishes a weak protocol.