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Fossils and carbon dating

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The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element. There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.

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The oldest fossils ever discovered are more than 3.5 billion years old.Fossils are found all over the world and on every continent.A paleontologist is a scientist that studies fossils.Types of Fossils There are two main types of fossils: body fossils and trace fossils.A body fossil is the physical remains of an animal. Some very small organisms, called microbacteria, leave behind microscopic particles called filaments.Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.

Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.

By dating these surrounding layers, they can figure out the youngest and oldest that the fossil might be; this is known as "bracketing" the age of the sedimentary layer in which the fossils occur.

Teach your students about absolute dating: Determining age of rocks and fossils, a classroom activity for grades 9-12.

Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.

Fossils are generally found in sedimentary rock — not igneous rock.