Describe the difference between relative and absolute dating


17-Aug-2017 12:16

Free 5-day trial Learn how scientists determine the ages of rocks and fossils.

We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating.

Let's say that Paul the Paleontologist found an iguanodon fossil in the light green layer shown above.

And, he also found a coelophysis fossil in the yellow layer. Of course, the coelophysis, which means that coelophysis came before iguanodon.

If I told you that I was 30 years old, that number would be my numerical age.

If I told you I was 32 years younger than my mother, that number would be my relative age.

So, what if Paul found that superus awesomus dinosaur fossil in this middle layer?In 1896, a French physicist named Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity in an element called uranium.He saw that it underwent radioactive decay, or emission of energetic particles to produce new elements.Scientists are always spouting information about the ages of rocks and fossils. Well, they figure it out using two different methods: relative dating and numerical dating.

Let's find out more about these geological dating methods in order to understand how Paul the Paleontologist can be so sure about the age of his dinosaur fossils.

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