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Fossils and carbon dating

Within three weeks, there will be nothing left but a few small bones." A fossil normally preserves only a portion of an organism, usually that portion that was partially mineralized during life, such as bones and teeth.Trace fossils are the marks left by a living organism, such as feces, footprints or impressions of feathers or leaves.

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Fossils, by definition, are the remains or traces of organisms that lived at least 10,000 years ago.If you hear of a living tree being dated as a thousand years old, that is not necessarily an example of an incorrect dating. Wood taken from the innermost ring really is as old as the tree. We can date things for which historians know a "right answer".And, we can date things that have been dated by some other method.These isotopes aren’t found in the fossils themselves, but in the rock encasing the fossils Geologists in the International Commission on Stratigraphy make proposals based on the most recent studies to constantly update the geologic time scale of the world’s rocks.This chart uses both radiometric, relative comparisons, fossils, and reversals in the earth’s magnetic field to order events in the history of the earth.As the name suggests, fossil fuel is old, and no longer contains C14.

Both of these man-made changes are a nuisance to carbon dating.

That causes a dating problem with any animal that eats seafood. After about ten half-lives, there's very little C14 left.

So, anything more than about 50,000 years old probably can't be dated at all.

Scientist Olivia Judson provides this good example of what happens to an adult male gorilla in the tropical rainforests of the Congo; "An adult male gorilla— all 330 pounds of him—will be reduced to a pile of bones and hair within 10 days of his death.

What scavengers like vultures and hyenas leave behind, flies, ants, worms, and bacteria quickly consume.

Historians don't have "right answers" for really old things.