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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.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.Unlike absolute dating, relative dating does not assign specific years to individual events.Instead, it seeks to establish which actions occurred where in a sequence of geologic events.

The atoms in some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.

Then after another 5,000 years half of the remaining parent isotope will have decayed.

While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils.

There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.

Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

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These isotopes break down at a constant rate over time through radioactive decay.

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