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Like extant organisms, fossils vary in size from microscopic, even single bacterial cells one micrometer in diameter, to gigantic, such as dinosaurs and trees many meters long and weighing many tons.
A fossil normally preserves only a portion of the deceased organism, usually that portion that was partially mineralized during life, such as the bones and teeth of vertebrates, or the chitinous or calcareous exoskeletons of invertebrates.
Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth.
Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.
Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.
There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.
Inscriptions, distinctive markings, and historical documents can all offer clues to an artifact's age.
And if the artifact is organic—like wood or bone—researchers can turn to a method called radiocarbon dating.
Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: dating is hard.
But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.
People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history. Christians, by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously.