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The methods are all based on radioactive decay: The first radiometric dates, generated about 1920, showed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old.

Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates.

Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.

Radiometric dating methods detect beta particles from the decay of carbon 14 atoms while accelerator mass spectrometers count the number of carbon 14 atoms present in the sample.

Also includes info on how fossils are formed, the “cleaning, preparing, & repairing” of fossils, and other useful resources.

There are two techniques in measuring radiocarbon in samples—through radiometric dating and by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).

Biologists actually have at their disposal several independent ways of looking at the history of life - not only from the order of fossils in the rocks, but also through phylogenetic trees. Relative dating is done by observing fossils, as described above, and recording which fossil is younger, which is older.

The discovery of means for absolute dating in the early 1900s was a huge advance.

These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.New discoveries have filled in the gaps, and shown us in unimaginable detail the shape of the great ‘tree of life’.Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines.

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