Relative and radiometric dating

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As can be seen, radioactive dating is quite an advanced and sophisticated technique.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.The field relationships, as they are called, are of primary importance and all radiometric dates are evaluated against them.For example, a geologist may examine a cutting where the rocks appear as shown in Figure 1.By looking at other outcrops in the area, our geologist is able to draw a geological map which records how the rocks are related to each other in the field.

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.A scientist may present a fossil's position or location in the strata accurately, but then interpret it as only a few thousand years old, whereas another may present it as many millions of years old. However, it must be noted that radiometric dating seems to emerge as superior. Even though it is fallible, and a small chance holds that it may even be entirely inaccurate, radiometric dating relies more on fixed or solid variables and factors than relative dating does, thus having a smaller margin for error.

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