Radiocarbon dating is not useful for most fossils

20-Jun-2019 13:30

Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.There are several different methods for estimating the ages of fossils, including: Paleontologists rely on stratigraphy to date fossils.Stratigraphy is the science of understanding the strata, or layers, that form the sedimentary record.In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.

But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.

Paleontology seeks to map out how life evolved across geologic time.

A substantial hurdle is the difficulty of working out fossil ages.

However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.

But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.Paleontology seeks to map out how life evolved across geologic time.A substantial hurdle is the difficulty of working out fossil ages.However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.Strata are differentiated from each other by their different colors or compositions and are exposed in cliffs, quarries, and river banks.