April teaches high school science and holds a master's degree in education. Consider the following scenario: Paul the Paleontologist is a very famous scientist who has studied dinosaur bones all over the world. Recently, he appeared on the evening news to talk about a new dinosaur he just discovered. The dinosaur is called superus awesomus. Paul says he can tell from the fossils that superus awesomus lived on Earth about 675 million years ago. Paul is super awesome, so I'm going to take him at his word. But really, how do scientists figure out how old their dinosaur bones are?
How do geologists date rocks Radiometric dating USGS
And, what about other findings like fossil fish, plants and insects? Scientists are always spouting information about the ages of rocks and fossils. How do they know these ages? 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. The first method that scientists use to determine the age of rocks is relative dating. In this method, scientists compare different layers of rock to determine an ordered sequence of events in geologic history. That means they don't really know how old their rocks actually are. The key in relative dating is to find an ordered sequence.