Relative vs absolute dating of fossils

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Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.

For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.

Absolute dating provides a numerical age or range in contrast with relative dating which places events in order without any measure of the age between events.

In archaeology, absolute dating is usually based on the physical, chemical, and life properties of the materials of artifacts, buildings, or other items that have been modified by humans and by historical associations with materials with known dates (coins and written history).

But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated? There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find.They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.

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