Half live of dating methods

Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.

These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.

Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.

Early geologists, in the 1700s and 1800s, noticed how fossils seemed to occur in sequences: certain assemblages of fossils were always found below other assemblages. Since 1859, paleontologists, or fossil experts, have searched the world for fossils.

In the past 150 years they have not found any fossils that Darwin would not have expected.

New discoveries have filled in the gaps, and shown us in unimaginable detail the shape of the great ‘tree of life’.

It is often just as important to know the margins of error associated with a date as to know the date itself.

In this chapter, we discuss the main dating methods widely used in Quaternary studies today.

Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.Accurate dating is of fundamental importance to paleoclimatic studies.Without reliable estimates on the age of events in the past, it is impossible to investigate if they occurred synchronously or if certain events led or lagged others; neither is it possible to assess accurately the rate at which past environmental changes occurred.Strenuous efforts must therefore be made to date all proxy materials, to avoid sample contamination, and to ensure that the stratigraphic context of the sample is clearly understood.It is equally important that the assumptions and limitations of the dating procedure used are understood so that a realistic interpretation of the date obtained can be made.

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