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Paleontologists can radioactively date a fossil by determining the amount of carbon-14 isotopes remaining in the specimen. Elements decay by half-lives, meaning that after one half-life, half of the sample's radioactive particles are gone.

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Q: How does radiocarbon dating help scientists understand how old a fossil is?
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How the age of plant and animal fossils is determined?

The age of a plant or animal in a fossil is determined by radiocarbon dating. This means scientists measure the amount of a special type of carbon in the fossil, to determine the date.


How can someone find the absolute age of a fossil?

By using radiometric or radiocarbon dating.


What type of fossil dating uses half life to determine age?

Radiocarbon dating is a technique that uses the decay of carbon-14.


How scientists estimate the age in years of a fossil?

Scientists can use carbon dating to determine the age of a fossil.


What do scientists use to determine a fossil's relative age?

Carbon14 dating (isotopic dating)


How would you date a neanderthal fossil?

Radiocarbon testing.


What kind of information about an animal could scientists learn from a frozen fossil?

carbon dating


Since radioactive isotopes decay at different rates how is radiocarbon dating of any value in determining how old a fossil is?

Different radioactive isotopes do decay at different rates, but radiocarbon dating is only concerned with one isotope- Carbon-14. Carbon-14 decays at a constant rate, so researchers can use it as a reliable indicator of the age of a fossil up to about 70,000 years. Older fossils require different methods to determine their age.


How do Scientists tell how old fossil is?

Stratigraphy is the common method for dating fossils. The fossil will be younger than layers below it, and older than layers above it, provided the fossil beds have not been disturbed. Radioactive dating of fossils is more problematic, because of infiltration of fluids from elsewhere, and the carbonate circulation in the ocean is immeasurable long compared with its circulation rate in the atmosphere. So a shellfish could construct its shell from radiocarbon that was already centuries old, or from recycled old carbonate. In some circumstances it can be done however.


How is radioactive dating important fo providing evidence for evolution?

It allows scientists to organize the fossil record.


What radiometric dating tell us?

It tells us the absolute age of something, It is used when scientists want to see how old a fossil is.


How do scientists used carbon dating?

It involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content. Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.