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The second method is called absolute dating and is done by analysing the amount of radioactive decay in the minerals of the rocks.Scientists find out the age of a dinosaur fossil by dating not only the rocks in which it lies, but those below and above it.There are some radioactive elements in rock that decay by giving off energy and turning into different, more stable elements.This radioactive decay takes place at a constant rate for each radioactive element.After another half-life has passed, it will have decayed to an eighth, and so on. The half-life of potassium-40 is 1,310 million years, after which half of its substance will have changed into stable argon-40.Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth's surface has changed dramatically over the past 4.6 billion years.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.and *.are unblocked.Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.

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