Radiometric dating debate
This age is computed under the assumption that the parent substance (say, uranium) gradually decays to the daughter substance (say, lead), so the higher the ratio of lead to uranium, the older the rock must be.Of course, there are many problems with such dating methods, such as parent or daughter substances entering or leaving the rock, as well as daughter product being present at the beginning.Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines.Repeated, and tough, regimes of testing have confirmed the broad accuracy of the fossils and their dating, so we can read the history of life from the rocks with confidence. Educators have permission to reprint articles for classroom use; other users, please contact [email protected] reprint permission. Currently, he is studying certain basal dinosaurs from the Late Triassic and the quality of different segments of the fossil record.He holds the Chair in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol, UK, in addition to chairing the Masters program in paleobiology at the university.
Fossils can also show us how major crises, such as mass extinctions, happened, and how life recovered after them.
Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.
These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.
Biologists actually have at their disposal several independent ways of looking at the history of life - not only from the order of fossils in the rocks, but also through phylogenetic trees. Relative dating is done by observing fossils, as described above, and recording which fossil is younger, which is older.
The discovery of means for absolute dating in the early 1900s was a huge advance.