Two types of fossil dating

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This problem is now reduced by the careful collection of samples, rigorous crosschecking and the use of newer techniques that can date minute samples.Volcanic rocks – such as tuff and basalt – can be used in dating because they are formed at a particular moment in time, during an eruption.The heat from a volcanic eruption releases all the argon from the molten rock and disperses it into the atmosphere.Argon then starts to re-accumulate at a constant rate in the newly formed rock that is created after the eruption.When most people think of fossils they think of dinosaur skeletons and large bones, but there are many different types of fossils to be found.Palaeontologists, people who study fossils, divide them into two major types - body fossils and trace fossils.

In special cases, bones can be compared by measuring chemicals within them.The first type, body fossils, are the fossilised remains of an animal or plant, like bones, shells and leaves.These can be mould and cast fossils, like most of the fossilised dinosaur skeletons and big bones we see, replacement fossils, like petrified wood, or whole body fossils - mammoths caught in ice, or insects trapped in amber.The level of nitrogen gradually reduces as the bone decays.Absolute dating is not possible with this method because the rate at which the nitrogen content declines depends on the surrounding temperature, moisture, soil chemicals and bacteria.

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