Radioactive dating fossils isotopes used

Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.Yet this view is based on a misunderstanding of how radiometric dating works.The best-known radiometric dating techniques include radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, and uranium-lead dating.By establishing geological timescales, radiometric dating provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and rates of evolutionary change, and it is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.All rocks and minerals contain long-lived radioactive elements that were incorporated into Earth when the Solar System formed.These radioactive elements constitute independent clocks that allow geologists to determine the age of the rocks in which they occur.

This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.An hourglass is a helpful analogy to explain how geologists calculate the ages of rocks.When we look at sand in an hourglass, we can estimate how much time has passed based on the amount of sand that has fallen to the bottom.A substantial hurdle is the difficulty of working out fossil ages.There are several different methods for estimating the ages of fossils, including: Paleontologists rely on stratigraphy to date fossils.

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Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that the Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe are older still.

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