What is absolute carbon dating of fossils

Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.

Yet, you’ve heard the news: Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That corn cob found in an ancient Native American fire pit is 1,000 years old. Geologic age dating—assigning an age to materials—is an entire discipline of its own.

For example, which is older, the bricks in a building or the building itself?

Are there repairs or cracks in the sidewalk that came after the sidewalk was built?

It’s based either on fossils which are recognized to represent a particular interval of time, or on radioactive decay of specific isotopes. Based on the Rule of Superposition, certain organisms clearly lived before others, during certain geologic times.

After all, a dinosaur wouldn’t be caught dead next to a trilobite.

Relative age dating also means paying attention to crosscutting relationships.

If a rock has been partially melted, or otherwise metamorphosed, that causes complications for radiometric (absolute) age dating as well.

Pretty obvious that the dike came after the rocks it cuts through, right?

With absolute age dating, you get a real age in actual years.

The narrower a range of time that an animal lived, the better it is as an index of a specific time.

No bones about it, fossils are important age markers.

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