Define absolute dating fossils


24-Mar-2014 19:08

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There are several reasons why, but the main reasons is that Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring isotope in all forms of life and its half-life is about 5730 years, so we are able to use it to date more "recent" forms of life relative to the Geologic Time Scale.You would need to have access to scientific instruments at this point that could measure the amount of radioactivity in the sample, so off to the lab we go!Radiometric dating and certain other approaches are used to provide absolute chronologies in terms of years before the present.The two approaches are often complementary, as when a sequence of occurrences in one context can be correlated with an absolute chronlogy elsewhere.Also called absolute dating, scientists use the decay of radioactive elements within the fossils or the rocks around the fossils to determine the age of the organism that was preserved.This technique relies on the property of half-life.By measuring the ratio of the amount of the original radioactive element to the daughter isotope, scientists can determine how many half-lives the element has undergone and from there can figure out the absolute age of the sample.The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.

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Below is a chart of commonly used radiometric isotopes, their half-lives, and the daughter isotopes they decay into.

However, your read out from your radioactivity measuring instrument says you have only 25% Carbon-14 and 75% Nitrogen-14, so your fossil must have been through more than one half-life.



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