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This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.
There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.
The site also provides fact sheets on the age of the Earth and isochron dating.
This 5-12-grade activity introduces students to the idea of sequencing information in overlapping data sets and the Principle of Superposition, which is a core concept in relative dating. Offers history of age dating, stratigraphic principles, rock correlation, fossil correlations, radiometric dating, and the geologic time scale. Short discussion of radioactive dating and stratigraphic principles.
Radiometric Dating and the Geologic Time Scale, The Talk Origins Archive. Provides brief overview of (1) relative dating and stratigraphic methods, (2) absolute dating and radiometric dating, including a table with parent to daughter isotopes and half lives of those isotopes commonly used in radiometric dating, (3) paleomagnetics and (4) geologic time. Includes tables of common radioactive parent isotopes and their stable daughter products, and half lives of common radioactive isotopes.
Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.
Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.