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Scientists use two kinds of dating techniques to work out the age of rocks and fossils. This considers the positions of the different rocks in sequence (in relation to each other) and the different types of fossil that are found in them.

The second method is called absolute dating and is done by analysing the amount of radioactive decay in the minerals of the rocks.

Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.

Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.

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