Regarding the (very cool) wolf’s head,
we don’t know how much C-14 was in the creature when it died, or what the C-14/C-12 ratio in the environment at the time of the death of the sample
we don’t really know about the quality of the testing that has been done on this sample
we don’t know what “carbon contamination” of the sample may have occurred from its death until the present time
Carbon contamination can really skew test results. Regarding contamination affecting carbon dating, this discussion cautions (emphases mine):
IF the carbon in freshwater is partly acquired from AGED carbon, such as rocks, THEN the result will be a REDUCTION in the C-14/C-12 ratio in the water. For example, rivers that pass over limestone, which is mostly composed of calcium carbonate, will acquire carbonate ions. Similarly, groundwater can contain [AGED] carbon derived from the rocks through which it has passed. These rocks are usually so old that they no longer contain any measurable C-14, so this carbon LOWERS the C-14/C-12 ratio of the water it enters, WHICH CAN LEAD TO “apparent” ages of THOUSANDS of years …It is NOT POSSIBLE to deduce the effect of the effect by determining the hardness of the water: the aged carbon is not necessarily immediately incorporated into the plants AND ANIMALS that are affected, and the delay AFFECTS THEIR APPARENT AGE. The effect is VERY VARIABLE and there is NO general offset that can be applied…
That is, if the animal sample was exposed to a mineral like bicarbonate (from say, exposure to hard mineral groundwater after its death, or through its diet while alive), excessively high ages can be found —just as a LIVING shellfish today will yield a radiocarbon date which is excessively old.
Similarly, another research discussion cautions:
The most common cause of high APPARENT ages in freshwater systems is the presence of dissolved ancient carbonates, leading to the so-called hardwater effect.
… One of the basic assumptions in radiocarbon dating is that a sample incorporates carbon in equilibrium with the atmosphere. This can be directly, e.g. in a plant via photosynthesis, or indirectly, e.g. when an animal feeds on plants. This type of sample is called terrestrial. [BUT] If a sample obtains its carbon from another reservoir with a lower C-14 level than the atmosphere, the basic ASSUMPTION is NO LONGER VALID. The measured ages can be TOO OLD.
I remember once reading (e.g., here) about a late 800’s Viking burial ground discovered in England (and compared to the wolf’s head, that’s the comparatively recent past). They tested the skeletons, but their assumptions about the initial C-14 levels gave them a wrong date of a hundred years too old, compared to the known historical record. It was decided that this was probably because the Vikings had a high C-12 (“aged” carbon) diet from seafood —which would not have been accounted for in the initial correction factors of the carbon-dating calibration…