What is the use of radiometric dating

However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.Certain isotopes are unstable and undergo a process of radioactive decay, slowly and steadily transforming, molecule by molecule, into a different isotope.

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However, the age of each fossil primate needs to be determined so that fossils of the same age found in different parts of the world and fossils of different ages can be compared.For example, in the rocks exposed in the walls of the Grand Canyon (Figure 1) there are many horizontal layers, which are called strata.The study of strata is called stratigraphy, and using a few basic principles, it is possible to work out the relative ages of rocks.Relative dating puts geologic events in chronological order without requiring that a specific numerical age be assigned to each event.Second, it is possible to determine the numerical age for fossils or earth materials.

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