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Radioactive elements are common only in rocks with a volcanic origin, so the only fossil-bearing rocks that can be dated radiometrically are volcanic ash layers.Carbon dating uses the decay of carbon-14 to estimate the age of organic materials, such as wood and leather.For example, if fossils of B date to X million years ago and the calculated "family tree" says A was an ancestor of B, then A must have evolved earlier.It is also possible to estimate how long ago two living branches of a family tree diverged by assuming that DNA mutations accumulate at a constant rate.Furthermore, if a sample has been contaminated, scientists will know about it.Ironically, given how supposedly useless carbon dating is claimed to be, Creation Ministries International rests part of their "101 Evidences" on carbon dating being a useful method for within several thousand years.If a fossil is found between two layers of rock whose ages are known, the fossil's age is thought to be between those two known ages.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of about 5730 years, and therefore it is used to date biological samples up to about 60,000 years in the past.Favoriting this resource allows you to save it in the “My Resources” tab of your account.There, you can easily access this resource later when you’re ready to customize it or assign it to your students.Strata are differentiated from each other by their different colors or compositions and are exposed in cliffs, quarries, and river banks.These rocks normally form relatively horizontal, parallel layers, with younger layers forming on top.

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