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Carbon-13 is the isotope of carbon that has 7 neutrons.

Carbon-14 has 8 neutrons in its nucleus, along with its 6 protons, which is not a stable combination.

These include radiometric dating of volcanic layers above or below the fossils or by comparisons to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

Knowing when a dinosaur or other animal lived is important because it helps us place them on the evolutionary family tree.

A common problem with any dating method is that a sample may be contaminated with older or younger material and give a false age.

This problem is now reduced by the careful collection of samples, rigorous crosschecking and the use of newer techniques that can date minute samples.

Volcanic rocks – such as tuff and basalt – can be used in dating because they are formed at a particular moment in time, during an eruption.

Sedimentary rocks are rarely useful for dating because they are made up of bits of older rocks.

However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.Uranium is present in many different rocks and minerals, usually in the form of uranium-238.This section provides access to a number of visualizations and supporting material illustrating the concept of radioactive decay and its central role in radiometric dating.The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.

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Mountains, erosion, and variations in climate were considered to be punishment for the sins committed by humanity.

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