Alternatives to carbon dating
These demonstrate that, of course, we do not know everything (and clearly never will), but we know enough.Today, innovative techniques provide further confirmation and understanding of the history of life.Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.Radiometric dating methods detect beta particles from the decay of carbon 14 atoms while accelerator mass spectrometers count the number of carbon 14 atoms present in the sample.Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, but younger dates are stable.For example, it has been known since the 1960s that the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the line marking the end of the dinosaurs, was 65 million years old.
Fossils can also show us how major crises, such as mass extinctions, happened, and how life recovered after them.
If the fossils, or the dating of the fossils, could be shown to be inaccurate, all such information would have to be rejected as unsafe.
Geologists and paleontologists are highly self-critical, and they have worried for decades about these issues. D., is a vertebrate paleontologist with particular interests in dinosaur origins and fossil history.
Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.