Accuracy of Fossils and Dating Methods

Facts on Fossils Extremes In The fossil World Read through these Fun facts on fossils and find the biggest, oldest, longest fossils ever found! Invertebrates The Largest Ammonites Titanites are often 2 feet 53 centimeters in diameter. They are found in southern England and come from the Jurassic Period. They are found in Germany from the Cretaceous Period. They are found in North American, from the Cretaceous Period. The Largest Nautiloids The largest nautiloid on record is called Endoceras. The Biggest Trilobites Isotelus rex is the largest known species of trilobite. It was found in northern Manitoba. This humongous arthropod measures about 28 inches 72 centimeters long. Isotelus rex is now on display at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.


At the time that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, the earth was “scientifically” determined to be million years old. By , it was found to be 1. In , science firmly established that the earth was 3. Finally in , it was discovered that the earth is “really” 4. In these early studies the order of sedimentary rocks and structures were used to date geologic time periods and events in a relative way.

At first, the use of “key” diagnostic fossils was used to compare different areas of the geologic column.

Radiometric Dating. How radiometric dating works in general. Why methods in general are inaccurate. Why K-Ar dating is inaccurate. The branching ratio problem.

Acknowledgements Introduction his document discusses the way radiometric dating and stratigraphic principles are used to establish the conventional geological time scale. It is not about the theory behind radiometric dating methods, it is about their application, and it therefore assumes the reader has some familiarity with the technique already refer to “Other Sources” for more information. As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale.

To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods. A common form of criticism is to cite geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is very challenging. These are often characterised as the norm, rather than the exception. I thought it would be useful to present an example where the geology is simple, and unsurprisingly, the method does work well, to show the quality of data that would have to be invalidated before a major revision of the geologic time scale could be accepted by conventional scientists.

Geochronologists do not claim that radiometric dating is foolproof no scientific method is , but it does work reliably for most samples. It is these highly consistent and reliable samples, rather than the tricky ones, that have to be falsified for “young Earth” theories to have any scientific plausibility, not to mention the need to falsify huge amounts of evidence from other techniques. This document is partly based on a prior posting composed in reply to Ted Holden.

My thanks to both him and other critics for motivating me. Background Stratigraphic Principles and Relative Time Much of the Earth’s geology consists of successional layers of different rock types, piled one on top of another. The most common rocks observed in this form are sedimentary rocks derived from what were formerly sediments , and extrusive igneous rocks e. The layers of rock are known as “strata”, and the study of their succession is known as “stratigraphy”.

Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale

One of the Olduvai hominins, OH 24, seems anatomically similar to Australopithecus in having prominent cheekbones and a flat nasal region. Such hollowing of the face is characteristic of some South African australopiths but is not seen in later Homo. The facial skeleton of ER is large relative to the braincase, and it shows flattening below the nose —Australopithecus-like features. The walls of the nasal opening, however, are slightly everted, and there is at least an indication that the nose stands out in more relief than would be expected in australopiths.

The face of ER is even more modern. The front teeth of H.

A fossil (from Classical Latin fossilis; literally, “obtained by digging”) is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological es include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or microbes, objects preserved in amber, hair, petrified wood, oil, coal, and DNA remnants. The totality of fossils is known as the fossil record.

In studies of plants, most paleontological calibrations are associated with macrofossils. However, the pollen record can also inform age calibrations if fossils matching extant pollen groups are found. Recent work has shown that pollen of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, can be classified into a number of morphological groups that are synapomorphic with molecular groups. By assembling a data matrix of pollen morphological characters from extant and fossil Myrtaceae, we were able to measure the fit of 26 pollen fossils to a molecular phylogenetic tree using parsimony optimisation of characters.

We identified eight Myrtaceidites fossils as appropriate for calibration based on the most parsimonious placements of these fossils on the tree. These fossils were used to inform age constraints in a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a sequence alignment comprising two sequences from the chloroplast genome matK and ndhF and one nuclear locus ITS , sampled from taxa representing 80 genera. Three additional analyses were calibrated by placing pollen fossils using geographic and morphological information eight calibrations , macrofossils five calibrations , and macrofossils and pollen fossils in combination 12 calibrations.

The addition of new fossil pollen calibrations led to older crown ages than have previously been found for tribes such as Eucalypteae and Myrteae.

Famed “Lucy” Fossils Discovered in Ethiopia, 40 Years Ago

There are lots of ways to guesstimate ages, and geologists knew the earth was old a long time ago and I might add that they were mostly Christian creationist geologists. But they didn’t know how old. Radiometric dating actually allows the measurement of absolute ages, and so it is deadly to the argument that the earth cannot be more than 10, years old. Radiometric methods measure the time elapsed since the particular radiometric clock was reset.

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See Article History Alternative Title: The Precambrian represents more than 80 percent of the total geologic record. International Commission on Stratigraphy ICS All life-forms were long assumed to have originated in the Cambrian, and therefore all earlier rocks were grouped together into the Precambrian. Although many varied forms of life evolved and were preserved extensively as fossil remains in Cambrian sedimentary rocks, detailed mapping and examination of Precambrian rocks on most continents have revealed that additional primitive life-forms existed as early as about 3.

Nevertheless, the original terminology to distinguish Precambrian rocks from all younger rocks is still used for subdividing geologic time. The earliest evidence for the advent of life includes Precambrian microfossils that resemble algae , cysts of flagellates , tubes interpreted to be the remains of filamentous organisms, and stromatolites sheetlike mats precipitated by communities of microorganisms. In the late Precambrian, the first multicellular organisms evolved, and sexual division developed.

By the end of the Precambrian, conditions were set for the explosion of life that took place at the start of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Precambrian environment Several rock types yield information on the range of environments that may have existed during Precambrian time. Evolution of the atmosphere is recorded by banded-iron formations BIFs , paleosols buried soil horizons , and red beds, whereas tillites sedimentary rocks formed by the lithification of glacial till provide clues to the climatic patterns that occurred during Precambrian glaciations.

Everything Worth Knowing About … Scientific Dating Methods

The Radiometric Dating Game Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.

We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points.

Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate.

Part 1A. A large, but by no means complete, list of transitional fossils that are known. Use this article to counter the common creationist canard that there are no intermediates in the fossil record.

Click to share on Tumblr Opens in new window About a month ago, I watched Kendra Harrison break the m hurdles world record in London. I parked that for a later day. So that day has arrived. And so below is a discussion of the world records, and what they mean in the broader context of credibility of the sport. Top Fossilized remains of doping First up, here is a table showing the ages, in years and days, of a range of track and field world records. That said, Harrison uncovered one, and Ayana today broke one that a lot of people felt was untouchable.

Even fossils can be uncovered. I have another analysis, for another time, maybe, comparing the best performance over the last four years to the world record. What that shows is that women have not come with 1. The average deficit between the last four years and the WR for women is 2. Obviously, we see exceptions… Top Stagnation Next, I thought it would be interesting to look at how the world record breaking patterns have changed over time.

Everything Worth Knowing About … Scientific Dating Methods

Introduction What is a transitional fossil? The term “transitional fossil” is used at least two different ways on talk. I call these two meanings the “general lineage” and the “species-to-species transition”: This is a sequence of similar genera or families, linking an older group to a very different younger group. Each step in the sequence consists of some fossils that represent a certain genus or family, and the whole sequence often covers a span of tens of millions of years.

A lineage like this shows obvious morphological intermediates for every major structural change, and the fossils occur roughly but often not exactly in the expected order.

Articles in anthropology, archaeology, evolution theory and paleontology. Read the latest discoveries from archaeological sites and research institutes around the world. Images, updated daily.

These formations may have resulted from carcass burial in an anoxic environment with minimal bacteria, thus slowing decomposition. Stromatolites Lower Proterozoic stromatolites from Bolivia , South America Stromatolites are layered accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms , especially cyanobacteria. While older, Archean fossil remains are presumed to be colonies of cyanobacteria , younger that is, Proterozoic fossils may be primordial forms of the eukaryote chlorophytes that is, green algae.

One genus of stromatolite very common in the geologic record is Collenia. The earliest stromatolite of confirmed microbial origin dates to 2. The most widely supported explanation is that stromatolite builders fell victims to grazing creatures the Cambrian substrate revolution , implying that sufficiently complex organisms were common over 1 billion years ago. Factors such as the chemistry of the environment may have been responsible for changes. Cyanobacteria as well as extremophile Gammaproteobacteria are thought to be largely responsible for increasing the amount of oxygen in the primeval earth’s atmosphere through their continuing photosynthesis.

Cyanobacteria use water , carbon dioxide and sunlight to create their food. A layer of mucus often forms over mats of cyanobacterial cells. In modern microbial mats, debris from the surrounding habitat can become trapped within the mucus, which can be cemented by the calcium carbonate to grow thin laminations of limestone. These laminations can accrete over time, resulting in the banded pattern common to stromatolites.

The domal morphology of biological stromatolites is the result of the vertical growth necessary for the continued infiltration of sunlight to the organisms for photosynthesis.

Radiocarbon dating

Primary source references As a preface to this document, I want to point out that it is a shame that we have to continue to refute the same arguments that evolutionists keep bringing up over and over again in their attempts to argue against the fact of creation, which fact has been well established since the day the earth was created ex nihilo several thousand years ago. It is also a shame that the masses have bought all this based on some circular reasoning about fossils, where fossils tend to be found buried, similarities between various life forms, the presence of certain decay products in rocks, and other inherently speculative arguments about the past, based on phenomena that exist in the present.

If I hope to accomplish anything, it will be to simply encourage critical thinking. One must get past the arguments ad populum that its popularity counts for something , ad hominem that if you attack the person making the argument, this counts for something , and especially ad baculum that there are people who have the clout to decree it as true , to ask the key questions and challenge the unsubstantiated assumptions and thinking of those who would hold to the evolution position.

Amino Acid Dating Introduction. Amino acid dating has an important attribute in common with Carbon 14 dating. While most other dating mechanisms date the rock surrounding fossils, both Amino Acid and Carbon 14 dating methods, date the actual fossil itself.

There are many methods employed by these scientists, interested in the old, to get to know the age of items. It is possible to tell the number of years ago a particular rock or archeological site had been formed. Two broad categories of classification methods are relative dating and absolute dating. Though using similar methods, these two techniques differ in certain ways that will be discussed in this article. As the name implies, relative dating can tell which of the two artifacts is older.

This is a method that does not find the age in years but is an effective technique to compare the ages of two or more artifacts, rocks or even sites. It implies that relative dating cannot say conclusively about the true age of an artifact. Absolute dating, on the other hand is capable of telling the exact age of an item using carbon dating and many other techniques that were not there in earlier times. Relative dating makes use of the common sense principle that in a deposition of layers.


Geology[ edit ] The regular order of the occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around by William Smith. While digging the Somerset Coal Canal in southwest England, he found that fossils were always in the same order in the rock layers. As he continued his job as a surveyor , he found the same patterns across England.

He also found that certain animals were in only certain layers and that they were in the same layers all across England. Due to that discovery, Smith was able to recognize the order that the rocks were formed. Sixteen years after his discovery, he published a geological map of England showing the rocks of different geologic time eras.

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At higher temperatures, CO 2 has poor solubility in water, which means there is less CO 2 available for the photosynthetic reactions. The enrichment of bone 13 C also implies that excreted material is depleted in 13 C relative to the diet. This increase in 14 C concentration almost exactly cancels out the decrease caused by the upwelling of water containing old, and hence 14 C depleted, carbon from the deep ocean, so that direct measurements of 14 C radiation are similar to measurements for the rest of the biosphere.

Correcting for isotopic fractionation, as is done for all radiocarbon dates to allow comparison between results from different parts of the biosphere, gives an apparent age of about years for ocean surface water. The deepest parts of the ocean mix very slowly with the surface waters, and the mixing is uneven. The main mechanism that brings deep water to the surface is upwelling, which is more common in regions closer to the equator.

Upwelling is also influenced by factors such as the topography of the local ocean bottom and coastlines, the climate, and wind patterns. Overall, the mixing of deep and surface waters takes far longer than the mixing of atmospheric CO 2 with the surface waters, and as a result water from some deep ocean areas has an apparent radiocarbon age of several thousand years. Upwelling mixes this “old” water with the surface water, giving the surface water an apparent age of about several hundred years after correcting for fractionation.

This is probably because the greater surface area of ocean in the southern hemisphere means that there is more carbon exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere than in the north. Since the surface ocean is depleted in 14 C because of the marine effect, 14 C is removed from the southern atmosphere more quickly than in the north. For example, rivers that pass over limestone , which is mostly composed of calcium carbonate , will acquire carbonate ions.

Similarly, groundwater can contain carbon derived from the rocks through which it has passed.

Why Dating Methods Can Date Nothing