All these labors have not led to a single unexpected finding such as a human fossil from the time of the dinosaurs, or a Jurassic dinosaur in the same rocks as Silurian trilobites.Paleontologists now apply sophisticated mathematical techniques to assess the relative quality of particular fossil successions, as well as the entire fossil record.Fossils document the order of appearance of groups and they tell us about some of the amazing plants and animals that died out long ago.Fossils can also show us how major crises, such as mass extinctions, happened, and how life recovered after them.Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, but younger dates are stable.
Geologists and paleontologists are highly self-critical, and they have worried for decades about these issues. D., is a vertebrate paleontologist with particular interests in dinosaur origins and fossil history.
Yet, you’ve heard the news: Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That corn cob found in an ancient Native American fire pit is 1,000 years old. Geologic age dating—assigning an age to materials—is an entire discipline of its own.
In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.
Also includes info on how fossils are formed, the “cleaning, preparing, & repairing” of fossils, and other useful resources.
Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.