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Radiocarbon dating is used to measure the age of fossils
How do scientists figure out how old things are? | Live Science
The ancient Willandra people left behind a variety of materials that can help us to understand how they lived, who they were and how they related to the local environment as it changed around them. This material was left mostly by accident, such as waste from food preparation, fireplaces , or stone tools manufacture. Some was more deliberate, such as burials. Most of the archaeological materials are hard and durable including stone artefacts, mineralised bones and fire baked sediments. Plant matter and other soft material has not preserved well in the Mungo environment. The lunettes are the main storehouses for these archaeological remains.
Radiometric Age Dating
Radioactive dating uses the decay rates of radioactive substances to measure absolute ages of rocks, minerals and carbon-based substances, according to How Stuff Works. Scientists know how quickly radioactive isotopes decay into other elements over thousands, millions and even billions of years. Scientists calculate ages by measuring how much of the isotope remains in the substance.
What was missing from the early geologic time scale? While the order of events was given, the dates at which the events happened were not. With the discovery of radioactivity in the late s, scientists were able to measure the absolute age , or the exact age of some rocks in years.