Geologic dating activity
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.But really, how do scientists figure out how old their dinosaur bones are?And, what about other findings like fossil fish, plants and insects?In fact, Paul already knows that coelophysis lived around 200 million years ago, while iguanodon lived around 150 million years ago.So, what if Paul found that superus awesomus dinosaur fossil in this middle layer?In 1905, Ernest Rutherford figured out that we could use radiation to establish the ages of rocks.
He saw that it underwent radioactive decay, or emission of energetic particles to produce new elements.That means they don't really know how old their rocks actually are.The key in relative dating is to find an ordered sequence.Which of these does a better job of describing my age? So, in both geology and paleontology, we want to be able to point to an object and say exactly how old it is.
To do that, we have to learn a little bit about radioactive decay.The most common form of relative dating is called stratigraphic succession.