While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils. Carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating has a half-life…

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In this section we will explore the use of carbon dating to determine the age of fossil remains. Carbon dating is based upon the decay of 14C, a…

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Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old. Can carbon dating be used on fossils of any age? While people…

Archeology with a shovel

Early on, before we had more precise means to date fossils, geologists and paleontologists relied on relative dating methods. They looked at the position of sedimentary rocks to…

Archeology with a shovel

The law of superposition states that rock strata (layers) farthest from the ground surface are the oldest (formed first) and rock strata (layers) closest to the ground surface…

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Therefore, some discovered fossils are able to be dated according to the strata, a distinct layer of rock, that they are found in. Another common way that fossils…

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Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon….

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Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages. Absolute dating is used to determine a…

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How do paleontologists know how old fossils are? The geological time scale is used by geologists and paleontologists to measure the history of the Earth and life. It…

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Innovations to existing dating methods are eliminating these barriers. For example, revisions to a method called electron spin resonance allow scientists to date rare fossils, like hominin teeth,…

Archeology with a shovel