Dating dinosaur fossils

Dating Sedimentary Rock - How Do Scientists Determine the Age of Dinosaur Bones? | HowStuffWorks

To determine the ages of these specimens, scientists need an isotope with a very long half-life. Some of the isotopes used for this purpose are uranium, uranium and potassium , each of which has a half-life of more than a million years. Unfortunately, these elements don't exist in dinosaur fossils themselves. Each of them typically exists in igneous rock, or rock made from cooled magma. Fossils, however, form in sedimentary rock -- sediment quickly covers a dinosaur's body, and the sediment and the bones gradually turn into rock.

But this sediment doesn't typically include the necessary isotopes in measurable amounts.

Fossils can't form in the igneous rock that usually does contain the isotopes. The extreme temperatures of the magma would just destroy the bones. So to determine the age of sedimentary rock layers, researchers first have to find neighboring layers of Earth that include igneous rock, such as volcanic ash.

Relative Dating

These layers are like bookends -- they give a beginning and an end to the period of time when the sedimentary rock formed. In old dinosaur bones, the material is buried under layers upon layers of sediment under high pressure. This means that it is almost impossible for isotopes to enter or leave the premises. By comparing the ratio of unstable isotopes vs.

Radiocarbon Dating of Dinosaur Fossils

When dating a specimen, there are many different isotopes that can be tracked. Now, this technique is pretty cool if you want to calculate the age of a tree, for example, or even an Ancient Egyptian king a few thousand years young. Accurate dating of samples requires that the parent radioactive isotope has a long enough half-life such that it will still be quantifiable today. So, what are our options? Since there is insufficient uranium present in dinosaur bones to date directly, scientists go for igneous rock rock formed from magma — usually in the form of a mineral called zircon ZrSiO 4.


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  • Considering Contamination.

Zircon is ideal because:. I know this was incredibly simple and largely unscientific, but I'm dealing only with your creationist claim. I didn't know this claim was still out there. Got any other questions on radiometric dating? Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead? Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Is it a problem with radiometric dating that carbon 14 is found in materials dated to millions of years old? Considering Contamination From the source linked above: Decrypted Decrypted 1 1 7.

Absolute Dating

The main point of the debate seems to be the following: The research by Miller et al. Let's look at their research methodology in detail indicated by bullet points: What exactly are we dating here?

Sample contamination and general trustworthyness After the samples were submitted by the laboratory, Miller et al. Miller let assured the professor that the analysis was still of interest to the group.

Dating Fossils – How Are Fossils Dated?

The issue of contaminations is quite a serious one, as can be seen in this paper by Hedges and Gowlett sorry, paywalled!!! I quote quote also reproduced in the paper by Lepper that I linked earlier: Clearly proper sample decontamination procedures are of particular importance in the dating of very old artifacts It is clear that the sample provided by Miller did not under go any 'sample decontamination procedures' at all, and it is therefore strongly questionable to which extent it can be used to obtain a good estimate of the age of the bones.

In the article by Leppert, we find: Conclusions At this point, it is quite clear that there is little reason to trust the research by Miller's research group. Danu Danu 13k 8 55 Creationists demonstrably don't care about the facts. I'd be honestly surprised if this wasn't a troll.

It just appears that these people tried to apply the method - doing so in a very sloppy way, as I showed - for which is is of no use. So what research is being done to correct such an obvious dating flaw? The flaw is with creationists. We've been trying to educate creationists for decades now, but willful ignorance in favor of adhering to tradition and presuppositions is far stronger than anything that can be taught. Using this data, can a more accurate method be derived?

We have dozens of independent dating methods that have accurately dated the layers of dinosaur fossils to a very high degree of accuracy. Carbon dating is very accurate.


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  8. I recommend you check out This Paper from It shows that objects of known age via independent methods and recordings are corroborated by carbon dating. At what extremes of failure does it take for a scientifically approved method to become nonscientific? At the point at which it can be shown to be false and lack point of predictive capability.