Fossil dating radioactive decay
One way that helps scientists place fossils into the correct era on the Geologic Time Scale is by using radiometric dating.
Also called absolute dating, scientists use the decay of radioactive elements within the fossils or the rocks around the fossils to determine the age of the organism that was preserved.
After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide, or decay product.
In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.
This process continues over time, with the organism losing half of the remaining C-14 isotopes each 5,730 years.It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.The best-known radiometric dating techniques include radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, and uranium-lead dating.Radiometric dating, often called radioactive dating, is a technique used to determine the age of materials such as rocks.It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates.