Explain the importance of radiometric dating to paleontologists
As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 75, lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. Already registered? Log in here for access. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.
Explain why paleontologists find radiometric dating important
Radioactive dating - The Australian Museum
Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth as based on fossil s. Fossils are the remains of plant s, animal s, fungi , bacteria , and single-celled living things that have been replaced by rock material or impressions of organisms preserved in rock. Paleontologist s use fossil remains to understand different aspect s of extinct and living organisms. Much like the rings of a tree, for example, each ring on the surface of an oyster shell denotes one year of its life.
Why Paleontology Is Relevant
Many rocks and organisms contain radioactive isotopes, such as U and C These radioactive isotopes are unstable, decaying over time at a predictable rate. As the isotopes decay, they give off particles from their nucleus and become a different isotope.
Geologists use radiometric dating to estimate how long ago rocks formed, and to infer the ages of fossils contained within those rocks. Radioactive elements decay The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements. Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms.