Radiometric dating is used to tell the age of rocks
One of the biggest jobs of a geologist is establishing the absolute age, in years, of a rock or fossil.
Unlike relative dating, which only tells us the age of rock A compared to rock B, numerical dating tells us the age of rock A in x number of years.
Scientists know that the layers they see in sedimentary rock were built up in a certain order, from bottom to top.
That means they don't really know how old their rocks actually are.
The key in relative dating is to find an ordered sequence.
Scientists are always spouting information about the ages of rocks and fossils. Well, they figure it out using two different methods: relative dating and numerical dating.
Let's find out more about these geological dating methods in order to understand how Paul the Paleontologist can be so sure about the age of his dinosaur fossils.
Let's say that Paul the Paleontologist found an iguanodon fossil in the light green layer shown above.
And, he also found a coelophysis fossil in the yellow layer. Of course, the coelophysis, which means that coelophysis came before iguanodon.
Scientists piece together a story of how one event came before or after another.
Relative dating cannot tell us the actual age of a rock; it can only tell us whether one rock is older or younger than another.
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