Dating the age of dinosaurs
There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.
Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.
Then after another 5,000 years half of the remaining parent isotope will have decayed.
It’s often much easier to date volcanic rocks than the fossils themselves or the sedimentary rocks they are found in.
Potassium-40 on the other hand has a half like of 1.25 billion years and is common in rocks and minerals.
This makes it ideal for dating much older rocks and fossils.
The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.
But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?