How is radioactive dating used

The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.

The principle of superposition builds on the principle of original horizontality.

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As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.

A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.

Numerical ages estimate the date of a geological event and can sometimes reveal quite precisely when a fossil species existed in time.

Third, magnetism in rocks can be used to estimate the age of a fossil site.

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.

Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.

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