What information can radiocarbon dating tell paleontologists
Usually, atoms have an equal number of protons and neutrons.
If there are too many or too few neutrons, the atom is unstable, and it sheds particles until its nucleus reaches a stable state.
The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.
But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?
Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find.
They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.
The enamel that coats your teeth was formed throughout your childhood and makes your teeth strong and durable.
Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.