Fossil dating method
By dating these surrounding layers, they can figure out the youngest and oldest that the fossil might be; this is known as "bracketing" the age of the sedimentary layer in which the fossils occur.
Teach your students about absolute dating: Determining age of rocks and fossils, a classroom activity for grades 9-12.
It is only possible to carbon date things that are younger than 75000 years old whereas potassium has a half life of 1.25 billion years so this is more common in rocks. Feel free to have your say in the comments below, leave a like if you enjoyed this article!
The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.
Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.
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However, you cannot determine the age of a fossil if the rocks nearby haven’t been previously dated.