Despite Fry, being frozen, and remaining the same age for a thousand years, if someone was to carbon date him, or by birth certificate wouldn't he be 1,02X years old?

  • I don't think Fry's age is ever explicitly mentioned. It might be possible to deduce it, or at least get an approximate idea, from the cultural references in the episode "Luck of the Fryrish." (Also note that Fry's extensive time travelling may have affected his apparent age.) Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 13:03
  • According to wikipedia Leela reveals in the first season he is in his 20's. Really what I'm looking for is, is 1000 and something or somehow still in his 20's?
    – XAMPPRocky
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 13:06
  • 1
    This is really an definition decision; how exactly do you define his age. Biologically? As in 'How many years has he been biologically active?', chronologically, as in 'How many years has he physically existed in any state', 'When was he born? (factored against any arbitrary date/time to give age)' (Carbon dating should, in theory, give this value.) Even those are subject to additional questions, such as his mental age v.s. physical (think of the time loops he gets stuck in), and so on. Without quantifying exactly what you mean by age, it's indeterminate.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 13:35
  • This gets complicated by his not just "time" traveling, but distance-traveling. The world is aging without him while he is traveling at light speeds (or "faster"). :)
    – Mikey
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


To answer this, it's important to understand how carbon dating works.

Basically, when plants photosynthesize, a certain percentage of atoms they get in CO2 from atmosphere are unstable C14 isotope. They get incorporated in the plant tissues, and the percentage of C14 there gets roughly the same as in the atmosphere. You eat the plants or you eat the animals who ate the plants, so your C14 ratio is also close (some notable exceptions, like seafood, apply).

Once a plant or animal dies, it no longer lives (duh), so no new carbon atoms join it. It does decay, but this affects molecules, not atoms. So, stable carbon isotopes remain while unstable decay. Ratio of C14 compared to stable C12 gives the estimate of time our specimen spent dead and buried.

We may assume that cryosleep is similar to death in this aspect: no new atoms entered Fry's body during all that period. So when he woke up, he would be carbon-dated as a 1000 year old fossil. But as soon as he woke up, he began to eat, drink and breathe, gradually bringing him closer to other people in terms of dating. But not completely. If this answer is correct, Fry's teeth will give away his chronological age.

PS: Birth certificate? Yeah, 1000+ years. So what? There's a freaking alien on news channel, these people won't be shocked by an old young man.

  • 9
    Morbo is pleased with this answer!
    – user46509
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 18:42

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