How does radioactive dating help determine the age of fossils

Mostly, of course plant life would have decayed, but leaf fossils do remain if they were immediately covered by volcanic ash that preserved them from rot.

What made this discovery of Libby’s possible was the vast amount of work that had gone on before.

When the sun’s rays shine on the animals or plants and when this collides with nitrogen it creates Carbon 14, a radioisotope. That means that carbon-14 remnants will still be measurable when compared with the ratio of how this has diminished to the constant amount of Carbon 12 that remains constant.

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Frank Libby, a chemist who worked with the Manhattan Project during World War II is credited with radioactive dating, that is dating materials that had once been alive.

This of course includes fossils, of animal and plant life.

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