Absolute dating methods fossils

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The second method is called absolute dating and is done by analysing the amount of radioactive decay in the minerals of the rocks.Scientists find out the age of a dinosaur fossil by dating not only the rocks in which it lies, but those below and above it.A fossil will always be younger than fossils in the beds beneath it and this is called the principle of superposition.

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Index fossils are fossils that can be used to date the rock in which they are found.The best examples are fossils of animals or plants that lived for a very short period of time and were found in a lot of places.Ammonites, shelled relatives of today’s octopus, make ideal index fossils.Suppose a dinosaur fossil has been found in the beds of an ancient delta (the mouth of a river leading to the sea).

Sometimes, scientists already know the age of the fossil because fossils of the same species have been found elsewhere and it has been possible to establish accurately from those when the dinosaur lived.

Geologists call this the principle of lateral continuity.

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