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Therefore, scientists need to make use of proper techniques to adequately specify what the age of a fossil or artifact is.
Two of the most well-known and most frequently used include radioactive dating and relative dating. Organic bodies, such as you and me, as well as inanimate objects, such as stone tablets or rocks.
If a fossil is found, it means it is organic in nature, and thus has or will have contained C-14 atoms.
By using the known decay rate of C-14 as a reference and working out how much of the fossil's composition consists of C-14 and how much of it consists of N-14, they can approximate the age.
Suppose you find a fossil at one place that cannot be dated using absolute methods.
Much in the same way used to approximate the age of organic fossils, scientists use uranium-238's decay rate and the uranium-238 to lead-206 (which it decays into) ratio to approximate an age to assign to the object.While questionable, it appears as though the living penguins were dated as 8000 years old. If this were not the case, and the decay rate was susceptible to change or was not constant, it would render all ages inaccurate.Relative dating is the more conventional of the two.Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).