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This allows scientists to place a fossil found within a particular rock layer within these particular age brackets.
The atoms in some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.
Studying the layers of rock or strata can also be useful. If a layer of rock containing the fossil is higher up in the sequence that another layer, you know that layer must be younger in age. This can often be complicated by the fact that geological forces can cause faulting and tilting of rocks.
Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a rock or fossil through radiometric dating methods.
The age of fossils is determined through relative dating, and objective dating.
Fossils themselves usually can’t be directly dated, because most of them have little or no of the organic material left, and dating by Carbon 14 is only useful up to around 35000–50000 years.