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In the 70's: If this sort of thing interests you, you should find the journal Radiocarbon and read one of the issues devoted to calibration.For example, see Radiocarbon 46,1029 (2005), which has a calibration curve that goes back 26,000 years.For example, Stonehenge suddenly became older than the Pyramids, instead of younger.Since then, several other calibrations have been done, which confirm and extend the tree-ring one.
However, carbon dating has done well on young material like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Minoan ruins, and acacia wood from the tomb of the pharoah Zoser.
We know (from other measurements) that the Sun hasn't fluctuated by more than 10 percent in the last million years.
However, even this small an adjustment was a bit of a shock.
That causes a dating problem with any animal that eats seafood. After about ten half-lives, there's very little C14 left.
So, anything more than about 50,000 years old probably can't be dated at all.
In short, unless you have evidence to the contrary, you should assume that most of the carbon in a fossil is from contamination, and is not originally part of the fossil. The nuclear tests of the 1950's created a lot of C14.