Absolute dating science
Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.
One argument in favor of the absolute dating methods presented in the preceding articles is that they should work in principle.
When it comes to determining the age of stuff scientists dig out of the ground, whether fossil or artifact, “there are good dates and bad dates and ugly dates,” says paleoanthropologist John Shea of Stony Brook University.
If they don't, then it's not just a question of geologists being wrong about geology, but of physicists being wrong about physics and chemists being wrong about chemistry; if the geologists are wrong, entire laws of nature will have to be rewritten.
Science, since it concerns just one universe with one set of laws, constitutes a seamless whole; we cannot unpick the single thread of absolute dating without the whole thing beginning to unravel.
The fossil record may be incomplete and may never fully completed, but there are still many clues to evolution and how it happens within the fossil record.
One way that helps scientists place fossils into the correct era on the Geologic Time Scale is by using radiometric dating.