Numerical age dating methods

There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.

Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

The units commonly used for geologic age are mega-annum (Ma) for millions of years, giga-annum (Ga) for billions of years, and kiloannum (ka) ka for thousands of years.

Because these units are used according to the rules of the metric system, the M in Ma and the G in Ga must be capitalized, and the k in ka must not be capitalized.

Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.

The rejection of the validity of fossils and of dating by religious fundamentalists creates a problem for them: Fossil sequences were recognized and established in their broad outlines long before Charles Darwin had even thought of evolution.

In 1972 this assumption was shown to be highly questionable.Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.Before 1955, ages for the Earth based on uranium/thorium/lead ratios were generally about a billion years younger than the currently popular 4.5 billion years. old Earth is reviewed and deficiencies of the uranium/lead method are discussed.The basic theory of radiometric dating is briefly reviewed.Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.


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