Fossil dating techniques

By looking at reproductions and pictures of this fossil record, including representations of pre-human Primate species, we learn about our prehistoric beginnings among those populations of first two million years of our evolution, as identified as Ardipithecus, Australopithecus and the earliest members assigned to our own genus- Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis.

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As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.

A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.

Using the potassium-argon method, Fitch and Miller were the first to measure the age of the tuff.

Their result of 212–230 million years did not agree with the age of the fossils (elephant, pig, ape and tools) so they rejected the date.

They said the sample was contaminated with excess argon.

Using new samples of feldspar and pumice they ‘reliably dated’ the tuff at 2.61 million years, which agreed nicely.

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Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth's surface has changed dramatically over the past 4.6 billion years.

Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of normal carbon, carbon-12.

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