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Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of rocks, fossils, or artifacts. Relative dating methods tell only if one sample is older or younger than another; absolute dating methods provide an approximate date in years. The latter have generally been available only since Many absolute dating techniques take advantage of radioactive decay , whereby a radioactive form of an element decays into a non-radioactive product at a regular rate. Others, such as amino acid racimization and cation-ratio dating, are based on chemical changes in the organic or inorganic composition of a sample. In recent years, a few of these methods have come under close scrutiny as scientists strive to develop the most accurate dating techniques possible. Relative dating methods determine whether one sample is older or younger than another.

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A White House long in denial confronts reality. Belgian student saw a frat as his ticket. It was his death. Adaptive advantages of bipedalism include the following except A. Anatomical changes in hominins indicative of habitual bipedal locomotion include A.

What have researchers concluded from the fossil remains of hominin feet from South Africa? Remains from hominin feet have not been found in South Africa B.

Dating methods indicating that something is older or more recent than something else. are called relative dating methods. What is the dating method that uses the principle that undisturbed underlying geologic deposits are older than overlying geologic deposits? stratigraphic dating. This method is known as radiometric dating. Some commonly used dating methods are summarized in Table 1. The rate of decay for many radioactive isotopes . Dating methods indication that something is older or more recent than something else a. are called absolute dating methods b. are called relative dating methods c. are called chronometric dating methods d. never require stratigraphic information e. include the K/Ar method.

They indicate obligate quadrupedalism. They indicate many forms of hominins spent considerable time in trees. They were adapted for quadrupedalism. They indicate the big toe could NOT have aided the foot in grasping. Before hominins made stone tools, they probably A. The current evidence indicates that hominins possessed all the major structural changes necessary for bipedalism by A.

What is paleoanthropology? Relative dating methods tell only if one sample is older or younger than another; absolute dating methods provide an approximate date in years.

The latter have generally been available only since Many absolute dating techniques take advantage of radioactive decaywhereby a radioactive form of an element decays into a non-radioactive product at a regular rate. Others, such as amino acid racimization and cation-ratio dating, are based on chemical changes in the organic or inorganic composition of a sample.

In recent years, a few of these methods have come under close scrutiny as scientists strive to develop the most accurate dating techniques possible.

Relative dating methods determine whether one sample is older or younger than another. They do not provide an age in years. Before the advent of absolute dating methods, nearly all dating was relative. The main relative dating method is stratigraphy. Stratigraphy is the study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers. It is based on the assumption which nearly always holds true that deeper layers were deposited earlier, and thus are older, than more shallow layers.

The sequential layers of rock represent sequential intervals of time. Although these units may be sequential, they are not necessarily continuous due to erosional removal of some intervening. The smallest of these rock units that can be matched to a specific time interval is called a bed.

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Beds that are related are grouped together into members, and members are grouped into formations. Stratigraphy is the principle method of relative dating, and in the early years of dating studies was virtually the only method available to scientists.

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Seriation is the ordering of objects according to their age. It is a relative dating method.

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In a landmark study, archaeologist James Ford used seriation to determine the chronological order of American Indian pottery styles in the Mississippi Valley. Artifact styles such as pottery types are seriated by analyzing their abundances through time. This is done by counting the number of pieces of each style of the artifact in each stratigraphic layer and then graphing the data.

A layer with many pieces of a particular style will be represented by a wide band on the graph, and a layer with only a few pieces will be represented by a narrow band. The bands are arranged into battleship-shaped curves, with each style getting its own curve.

The curves are then compared with one another, and from this the relative ages of the styles are determined. A limitation to this method is that it assumes all differences in artifact styles are the result of different periods of time, and are not due to the immigration of new cultures into the area of study.

The term faunal dating refers to the use of animal bones to determine the age of sedimentary layers or objects such as cultural artifacts embedded within those layers. Scientists can determine an approximate age for a layer by examining which species or genera of animals are buried in it. The technique works best if the animals belonged to species, which evolved quickly, expanded rapidly over a large area, or suffered a mass extinction.

In addition to providing rough absolute dates for specimens buried in the same stratigraphic unit as the bones, faunal analysis can also provide relative ages for objects buried above or below the fauna-encasing layers. Each year seed-bearing plants release large numbers of pollen grains.

Pollen that ends up in lakebeds or peat bogs is the most likely to be preserved, but pollen may also become fossilized in arid conditions if the soil is acidic or cool.

Scientists can develop a pollen chronology, or calendar, by noting which species of pollen were deposited earlier in time, that is, residue in deeper sediment or rock layers, than others. The unit of the calendar is the pollen zone. A pollen zone is a period of time in which a particular species is much more abundant than any other species of the time.

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In most cases, this tells us about the climate of the period, because most plants only thrive in specific climatic conditions. Changes in pollen zones can also indicate changes in human activities such as massive deforestation or new types of farming. Pastures for grazing livestock are distinguishable from fields of grain, so changes in the use of the land over time are recorded in the pollen history.

The dates when areas of North America were first settled by immigrants can be determined to within a few years by looking for the introduction of ragweed pollen. Pollen zones are translated into absolute dates by the use of radiocarbon dating. In addition, pollen dating provides relative dates beyond the limits of radiocarbon 40, yearsand can be used in some places where radiocarbon dates are unobtainable.

Fluorine is found naturally in ground water. This water comes in contact with skeletal remains under ground. When this occurs, the fluorine in the water saturates the bone, changing the mineral composition. Over time, more and more fluorine incorporates itself into the bone. By comparing the relative amounts of fluorine composition of skeletal remains, one can determine whether the remains were buried at the same time.

A bone with a higher fluorine composition has been buried for a longer period of time. Absolute dating is the term used to describe any dating technique that tells how old a specimen is in years. These are generally analytical methods, and are carried out in a laboratory. Absolute dates are also relative dates, in that they tell which specimens are older or younger than others. Absolute dates must agree with dates from other relative methods in order to be valid.

This dating technique was first conducted by Hare and Mitterer inand was popular in the s. It requires a much smaller sample than radiocarbon dating, and has a longer range, extending up to a few hundred thousand years. It has been used to date coprolites fossilized feces as well as fossil bones and shells.

These types of specimens contain proteins embedded in a network of minerals such as calcium. Amino acid racimization is based on the principle that amino acids except glycine, which is a very simple amino acid exist in two mirror image forms called stereoisomers. Living organisms with the exception of some microbes synthesize and incorporate only the L-form into proteins.

When these organisms die, the L-amino acids are slowly converted into D-amino acids in a process called racimization. The protons are quickly replaced, but will return to either side of the amino acid, not necessarily to the side from which they came. This may form a D-amino acid instead of an L-amino acid. The rate at which the reaction occurs is different for each amino acid; in addition, it depends upon the moisture, temperature, and pH of the postmortem conditions.

The higher the temperature, the faster the reaction occurs, so the cooler the burial environment, the greater the dating range. The burial conditions are not always known, however, and can be difficult to estimate.

For this reason, and because some of the amino acid racimization dates have disagreed with dates achieved by other methods, the technique is no longer widely used. Cation-ratio dating is used to date rock surfaces such as stone artifacts and cliff and ground drawings. It can be used to obtain dates that would be unobtainable by more conventional methods such as radio-carbon dating. Scientists use cation-ratio dating to determine how long rock surfaces have been exposed. They do this by chemically analyzing the varnish that forms on these surfaces.

The varnish contains cations, which are positively charged atoms or molecules. Different cations move throughout the environment at different rates, so the ratio of different cations to each other changes over time. By calibrating these ratios with dates obtained from rocks from a similar microenvironment, a minimum age for the varnish can be determined.

This technique can only be applied to rocks from desert areas, where the varnish is most stable.

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Although cation-ratio dating has been widely used, recent studies suggest it has many problems. Many of the dates obtained with this method are inaccurate due to improper chemical analyses. In addition, the varnish may not actually be stable over long periods of time. Finally, some scientists have recently suggested that the cation ratios may not even be directly related to the age of the sample. Thermoluminescence dating is useful for determining the age of pottery. Electrons from quartz and other minerals in the pottery clay are bumped out of their normal positions ground state when the clay is exposed to radiation.

This radiation may come from radioactive substances such as uranium, present in the clay or burial medium, or from cosmic radiation. The longer the exposure to the radiation, the more electrons that are bumped into an excited state, and the more light that is emitted upon heating.

The process of displacing electrons begins again after the object cools. Scientists can determine how many years have passed since a ceramic piece was fired by heating it in the laboratory and measuring how much light is given off.

Thermoluminescence dating has the advantage of covering the time interval between radiocarbon and potassium-argon datingor 40, -years. In addition, it can be used to date materials that cannot be dated with these other two methods. Optically stimulated luminescence has only been used since Minerals found in sediments are sensitive to light. Electrons found in the sediment grains leave the ground state when exposed to light, called recombination.

To determine the age of a sediment, scientists expose grains to a known amount of light and compare these grains with the unknown sediment. This technique can be used to determine the age of unheated sediments less thanyears old. This absolute dating method is also known as dendrochronology. It is based on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.

The rings form a distinctive pattern, which is the same for all members in a given species and geographical area. The patterns from trees of different ages including ancient wood are overlapped, forming a master pattern that can be used to date timbers thousands of years old with a resolution of one year. Timbers can be used to date buildings and archaeological sites. In addition, tree rings are used to date changes in the climate such as sudden cool or dry periods. Dendrochronology has a range ofyears or more.

As previously mentioned, radioactive decay refers to the process in which a radioactive form of an element is converted into a nonradioactive product at a regular rate. Radioactive decay dating is not a single method of absolute dating but instead a group of related methods for absolute dating of samples. When volcanic rocks are heated to extremely high temperatures, they release any argon gas trapped in them.

As the rocks cool, argon 40 Ar begins to accumulate. Argon is formed in the rocks by the radioactive decay of potassium 40 K.

The amount of 40 Ar formed is proportional to the decay rate half-life of 40 K, which is 1. In other words, it takes 1. This method is generally only applicable to rocks greater than three million years old, although with sensitive instruments, rocks several hundred thousand years old may be dated.

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The reason such old material is required is that it takes a very long time to accumulate enough 40 Ar to be measured accurately. Potassium-argon dating has been used to date volcanic layers above and below fossils and artifacts in east Africa.

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Radiocarbon is used to date charcoal, wood, and other biological materials. The range of conventional radiocarbon dating is 30, - 40, years, but with sensitive instrumentation this range can be extended to 70, years. Radiocarbon 14 C is a radioactive form of the element carbon. It decays spontaneously into nitrogen 14 N. Plants get most of their carbon from the air in the form of carbon dioxideand animals get most of their carbon from plants or from animals that eat plants.

Atoms of 14 C and of a non-radioactive form of carbon, 12 C, are equally likely to be incorporated into living organisms - there is no discrimination. When the organism dies, however, its body stops incorporating new carbon.

The ratio will then begin to change as the 14 C in the dead organism decays into 14 N. The rate at which this process occurs is called the half-life. This is the time required for half of the 14 C to decay into 14 N. The half-life of 14 C is 5, years. This allows us to determine how much 14 C has formed since the death of the organism. A problem with radiocarbon dating is that diagenic after death contamination of a specimen from soil, water, etc.

This can lead to inaccurate dates. Another problem lies with the assumptions associated with radiocarbon dating. This is not completely true. The daughters have relatively short half-lives ranging from a few hundred thousand years down to only a few years.

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This provides a dating range for the different uranium series of a few thousand years toyears. Uranium series have been used to date uranium-rich rocks, deep-sea sediments, shells, bones, and teeth, and to calculate the ages of ancient lake beds. The two types of uranium series dating techniques are daughter deficiency methods and daughter excess methods.

In daughter deficiency situations, the parent radioisotope is initially deposited by itself, without its daughter the isotope into which it decays present. Through time, the parent decays to the daughter until the two are in equilibrium equal amounts of each. The age of the deposit may be determined by measuring how much of the daughter has formed, providing that neither isotope has entered or exited the deposit after its initial formation.

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Living mollusks and corals will only take up dissolved compounds such as isotopes of uranium, so they will contain no protactinium, which is insoluble. Protactinium begins to accumulate via the decay of U after the organism dies.

Scientists can determine the age of the sample by measuring how much Pa is present and calculating how long it would have taken that amount to form. In the case of a daughter excess, a larger amount of the daughter is initially deposited than the parent.

Non-uranium daughters such as protactinium and thorium are insoluble, and precipitate out on the bottoms of bodies of water, forming daughter excesses in these sediments. Over time, the excess daughter disappears as it is converted back into the parent, and by measuring the extent to which this has occurred, scientists can date the sample. If the radioactive daughter is an isotope of uranium, it will dissolve in water, but to a different extent than the parent; the two are said to have different solubilities.

For example, U dissolves more readily in water than its parent, U, so lakes and oceans contain an excess of this daughter isotope. Some volcanic minerals and glasses, such as obsidian, contain uranium U. The rate at which this process occurs is proportional to the decay rate of U. The decay rate is measured in terms of the half-life of the element, or the time it takes for half of the element to split into its daughter atoms.

The half-life of U is 4. When the mineral or glass is heated, the tracks are erased in much the same way cut marks fade away from hard candy that is heated. This process sets the fission track clock to zero, and the number of tracks that then form are a measure of the amount of time that has passed since the heating event. Scientists are able to count the tracks in the sample with the aid of a powerful microscope.

The sample must contain enough U to create enough tracks to be counted, but not contain too much of the isotope, or there will be a jumble of tracks that cannot be distinguished for counting. One of the advantages of fission track dating is that it has an enormous dating range. Objects heated only a few decades ago may be dated if they contain relatively high levels of U; conversely, some meteorites have been dated to over a billion years old with this method.

See also Pollen analysis ; Strata.

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Dickin, Alan P. Radiogenic Isotope Geology. Balter, Michael. Guilderson, Tom P. Turney, Chris S. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

September 30, Retrieved September 30, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of a specimen.

Relative dating methods tell only if one sample is older or younger than another sample; absolute dating methods provide a date in years. Many absolute dating techniques take advantage of radioactive decaywhereby a radioactive form of an element is converted into another radioactive isotope or non-radioactive product at a regular rate.

In recent years, a few of these methods have undergone continual refinement as scientists strive to develop the most accurate dating techniques possible. It is based on the assumption which, except at unconformitiesnearly always holds true that deeper layers were deposited earlier, and thus are older than more shallow layers. Although these units may be sequential, they are not necessarily continuous due to erosional removal of some intervening units.

The technique works best if the animals belonged to species that evolved quickly, expanded rapidly over a large area, or suffered a mass extinction. This process results in a "rain" of pollen that falls over many types of environments. In most cases, this also reveals much about the climate of the period, because most plants only thrive in specific climatic conditions. This dating technique of amino acid racimization was first conducted by Hare and Mitterer inand was popular in the s.

Dating methods indicating only that something is older or more recent than something else are called? Relative dating. What kinds of material can fluorine analysis be used on? remains of bone. What kinds of material can thermoluminescence be used on? Stone. What is paleomagnetism? Dating methods indicating that something is older or more recent than something else a) are called chronometric dating methods b) are called absolute dating methods c) include the K/Ar method d) never require stratigraphic information e) are called relative dating methods. Jul 02,   7. Dating methods indicating that something is older or more recent than something else. A. include the K/Ar method. B. are called relative dating methods. C. are called chronometric dating methods. D. are called absolute dating methods. E. never require stratigraphic information. 8. is a radiometric dating method popular with.

Amino acid racimization is based on the principle that amino acids except glycine, a very simple amino acid exist in two mirror image forms called stereoisomers. This may form a D-amino acid instead of an L - amino acid. The rate at which the reaction occurs is different for each amino acid; in addition, it depends upon the moisture, temperatureand pH of the postmortem conditions.

It can be used to obtain dates that would be unobtainable by more conventional methods such as radiocarbon dating. Although cation-ratio dating has been widely used, recent studies suggest it has potential errors. Thermoluminescence dating is very useful for determining the age of pottery. This radiation may come from radioactive substances such as uranium. The longer the radiation exposure, the more electrons get bumped into an excited state. With more electrons in an excited state, more light is emitted upon heating.

Scientists can determine how many years have passed since a ceramic was fired by heating it in the laboratory and measuring how much light is given off. Optically stimulated luminescence OSL has only been used since This change is called radioactive decay. For example, unstable 14 C transforms to stable nitrogen 14 N. The atomic nucleus that decays is called the parent isotope. The product of the decay is called the daughter isotope.

In the example, 14 C is the parent and 14 N is the daughter. Some minerals in rocks and organic matter e.

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The abundances of parent and daughter isotopes in a sample can be measured and used to determine their age. This method is known as radiometric dating. Some commonly used dating methods are summarized in Table 1. The rate of decay for many radioactive isotopes has been measured and does not change over time. Thus, each radioactive isotope has been decaying at the same rate since it was formed, ticking along regularly like a clock.

For example, when potassium is incorporated into a mineral that forms when lava cools, there is no argon from previous decay argon, a gas, escapes into the atmosphere while the lava is still molten. When that mineral forms and the rock cools enough that argon can no longer escape, the "radiometric clock" starts. Over time, the radioactive isotope of potassium decays slowly into stable argon, which accumulates in the mineral. The amount of time that it takes for half of the parent isotope to decay into daughter isotopes is called the half-life of an isotope Figure 5b.

When the quantities of the parent and daughter isotopes are equal, one half-life has occurred. If the half life of an isotope is known, the abundance of the parent and daughter isotopes can be measured and the amount of time that has elapsed since the "radiometric clock" started can be calculated. For example, if the measured abundance of 14 C and 14 N in a bone are equal, one half-life has passed and the bone is 5, years old an amount equal to the half-life of 14 C.

If there is three times less 14 C than 14 N in the bone, two half lives have passed and the sample is 11, years old. However, if the bone is 70, years or older the amount of 14 C left in the bone will be too small to measure accurately.

Thus, radiocarbon dating is only useful for measuring things that were formed in the relatively recent geologic past.

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Luckily, there are methods, such as the commonly used potassium-argon K-Ar metho that allows dating of materials that are beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating Table 1. Comparison of commonly used dating methods. Radiation, which is a byproduct of radioactive decay, causes electrons to dislodge from their normal position in atoms and become trapped in imperfections in the crystal structure of the material.

Dating methods like thermoluminescenceoptical stimulating luminescence and electron spin resonancemeasure the accumulation of electrons in these imperfections, or "traps," in the crystal structure of the material. If the amount of radiation to which an object is exposed remains constant, the amount of electrons trapped in the imperfections in the crystal structure of the material will be proportional to the age of the material.

These methods are applicable to materials that are up to aboutyears old. However, once rocks or fossils become much older than that, all of the "traps" in the crystal structures become full and no more electrons can accumulate, even if they are dislodged. The Earth is like a gigantic magnet.

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It has a magnetic north and south pole and its magnetic field is everywhere Figure 6a. Just as the magnetic needle in a compass will point toward magnetic north, small magnetic minerals that occur naturally in rocks point toward magnetic north, approximately parallel to the Earth's magnetic field. Because of this, magnetic minerals in rocks are excellent recorders of the orientation, or polarityof the Earth's magnetic field. Small magnetic grains in rocks will orient themselves to be parallel to the direction of the magnetic field pointing towards the north pole.

Black bands indicate times of normal polarity and white bands indicate times of reversed polarity. Through geologic time, the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field has switched, causing reversals in polarity. The Earth's magnetic field is generated by electrical currents that are produced by convection in the Earth's core.

During magnetic reversals, there are probably changes in convection in the Earth's core leading to changes in the magnetic field. The Earth's magnetic field has reversed many times during its history.

When the magnetic north pole is close to the geographic north pole as it is todayit is called normal polarity. Reversed polarity is when the magnetic "north" is near the geographic south pole.

Using radiometric dates and measurements of the ancient magnetic polarity in volcanic and sedimentary rocks termed paleomagnetismgeologists have been able to determine precisely when magnetic reversals occurred in the past. Combined observations of this type have led to the development of the geomagnetic polarity time scale GPTS Figure 6b. The GPTS is divided into periods of normal polarity and reversed polarity.

Relative dating methods tell only if one sample is older or younger than another sample; absolute dating methods provide a date in years. The latter have generally been available only since Many absolute dating techniques take advantage of radioactive decay, whereby a radioactive form of an element is converted into another radioactive. Dating methods indicating that something is older or more recent than something else a. are called chronometric dating methods b. are called absolute dating methods c. include the K/Ar method d. never require stratigraphic information e. are called relative dating methods.

Geologists can measure the paleomagnetism of rocks at a site to reveal its record of ancient magnetic reversals. Every reversal looks the same in the rock record, so other lines of evidence are needed to correlate the site to the GPTS. Information such as index fossils or radiometric dates can be used to correlate a particular paleomagnetic reversal to a known reversal in the GPTS.

Once one reversal has been related to the GPTS, the numerical age of the entire sequence can be determined. Using a variety of methods, geologists are able to determine the age of geological materials to answer the question: "how old is this fossil?

These methods use the principles of stratigraphy to place events recorded in rocks from oldest to youngest. Absolute dating methods determine how much time has passed since rocks formed by measuring the radioactive decay of isotopes or the effects of radiation on the crystal structure of minerals.

Paleomagnetism measures the ancient orientation of the Earth's magnetic field to help determine the age of rocks. Deino, A. Evolutionary Anthropology 6 : Faure, G.

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Isotopes: Principles and Applications. Third Edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons Gradstein, F. The Geologic Time Scale2-volume set. Waltham, MA: Elsevier Ludwig, K. Geochronology on the paleoanthropological time scale, Evolutionary Anthropology 9, McDougall I. Tauxe, L.



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