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Free online dating service with webcam, chat, and IM!In palaeontology and archaeology, it becomes necessary to determine the age of an artifact or fossil when it is uncovered.Not only this, but the geological time scale - another fundamental of relative dating - is sketchy and not always linear all over the globe. For example, radiometric dating dates the fossil as it is individually - relative dating compares it to other fossils in an environment (strata and sedimentary layers) that is certainly not linear.For example, sometimes the strata of a certain region are in the exact opposite sequence or order to how geologists expect them to be using the geological time scale. This is not to imply radiometric dating is immediately superior to relative dating and is fully correct.In fact, some are of the opinion that its results are actually more of a rough estimate or less trustworthy than the results obtained from radioactive dating. Because the results rely heavily, not necessarily on the position of the fossil or its stratum (which is still an extremely important primary factor), but rather the way in which the scientist interprets it, which means it is vulnerable to bias, miscalculations, and so on. Both are not entirely inaccurate, but neither are both entirely accurate.
If a fossil is found, it means it is organic in nature, and thus has or will have contained C-14 atoms.
This, of course, is so that it can be properly catalogued, and, if valid, can be related to or associated with other objects from the same era. Fossils and artifacts don't come with labels attached that clearly state their age.
Therefore, scientists need to make use of proper techniques to adequately specify what the age of a fossil or artifact is.
Unfortunately, though, it is impossible to determine exactly what the age of a fossil or artifact is using it. Well, many sources state that a recent test on the accuracy of C-14 dating - and thus, in turn, radioactive dating - attempted to date living penguins. Aside from these alleged inconsistencies, there is also the assumption that the decay rates of the isotopes is constant, or fixed.
While questionable, it appears as though the living penguins were dated as 8000 years old. If this were not the case, and the decay rate was susceptible to change or was not constant, it would render all ages inaccurate.
Much in the same way used to approximate the age of organic fossils, scientists use uranium-238's decay rate and the uranium-238 to lead-206 (which it decays into) ratio to approximate an age to assign to the object.