Forms of dating fossils

The level of nitrogen gradually reduces as the bone decays.

Absolute dating is not possible with this method because the rate at which the nitrogen content declines depends on the surrounding temperature, moisture, soil chemicals and bacteria.

Fossils and other objects that accumulate between these eruptions lie between two different layers of volcanic ash and rock.

The oldest rocks and fossils are at the bottom and the youngest are on top.This form of uranium usually decays into a stable lead isotope but the uranium atoms can also split – a process known as fission.During this process the pieces of the atom move apart at high speed, causing damage to the rock or mineral.This newer method converts a stable form of potassium (potassium-39) into argon-39.Measuring the proportions of argon-39 and argon-40 within a sample allows the age of the sample to be determined.

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Instead, other methods are used to work out a fossil’s age.

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