Carbon dating age fossil

Misleading results can occur if the index fossils are incorrectly dated.

Stratigraphy and biostratigraphy can in general provide only relative dating (A was before B), which is often sufficient for studying evolution.

Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.

By examining the object's relation to layers of deposits in the area, and by comparing the object to others found at the site, archaeologists can estimate when the object arrived at the site.

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It is also possible to estimate how long ago two living branches of a family tree diverged by assuming that DNA mutations accumulate at a constant rate.The principle of radiocarbon dating is simple: the rates at which various radioactive elements decay are known, and the ratio of the radioactive element to its decay products shows how long the radioactive element has existed in the rock.This rate is represented by the half-life, which is the time it takes for half of a sample to decay.Radioactive elements are common only in rocks with a volcanic origin, so the only fossil-bearing rocks that can be dated radiometrically are volcanic ash layers.Carbon dating uses the decay of carbon-14 to estimate the age of organic materials, such as wood and leather.

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