Relative dating vs radiometric dating

Relative dating vs 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.These strata make up much of the famous prominent rock formations in widely spaced protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park.From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone.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.

The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality and the Law of Superposition, two important ideas used in relative dating.Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology and is, in some respects, more accurate.The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative dating' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

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

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