What is radioactive dating of fossils

Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: dating is hard.

But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.

After all, textbooks, media, and museums glibly present ages of millions of years as fact.

The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more than 50,000 years old.

Carbon-14 cannot be used to date biological artifacts of organisms that did not get their carbon dioxide from the air.

Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.

Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.

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