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Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.
Yet, you’ve heard the news: Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That corn cob found in an ancient Native American fire pit is 1,000 years old. Geologic age dating—assigning an age to materials—is an entire discipline of its own.
Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.
Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.
For that final inspiration injection, read our photo comic about Linda's DNA dating adventure.
Will the siren call of genetic compatibility triumph over Linda and Nic's love?
This is because new sediments are always laid down on top of sediments that have already been deposited.
So, when looking at the history of a cliff face, it is important to read the story it tells from the bottom layer up.
Geologists draw on it and other basic principles ( to determine the relative ages of rocks or features such as faults.
The age of the carbon in the rock is different from that of the carbon in the air and makes carbon dating data for those organisms inaccurate under the assumptions normally used for carbon dating.
This restriction extends to animals that consume seafood in their diet.
Sometimes, scientists already know the age of the fossil because fossils of the same species have been found elsewhere and it has been possible to establish accurately from those when the dinosaur lived.
Geologists call this the principle of lateral continuity.
After refreshing your techniques with our guide to Darwinian dating, be sure to read about how DNA can make or break the rules of attraction.