Radioactive carbon dating in palentology

There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

This makes it ideal for dating much older rocks and fossils.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.Carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating has a half-life of 5730 years, so it decays too fast.It can only be used to date fossils younger than about 75,000 years.

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We define the rate of this radioactive decay in half-lives.

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