Difference between relative and radiometric dating of fossils

Typically commonly occurring fossils that had a widespread geographic distribution such as brachiopods, trilobites, and ammonites work best as index fossils.If the fossil you are trying to date occurs alongside one of these index fossils, then the fossil you are dating must fall into the age range of the index fossil. In a hypothetical example, a rock formation contains fossils of a type of brachiopod known to occur between 410 and 420 million years.

In relative dating the exact age of the object is not known; the only thing which made clear using this is that which of the two artifacts is older.

The relative dating is less advanced technique as compared to the absolute dating.

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.

Carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating has a half-life of 5730 years, so it decays too fast.

It can only be used to date fossils younger than about 75,000 years.So, often layers of volcanic rocks above and below the layers containing fossils can be dated to provide a date range for the fossil containing rocks.The atoms in some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.Potassium-40 on the other hand has a half like of 1.25 billion years and is common in rocks and minerals.This makes it ideal for dating much older rocks and fossils.The relative dating is the technique in the Geology through which the age is determined with relation to the other objects.