What is relative dating in biology
Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.
Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.
This makes it ideal for dating much older rocks and fossils.
Carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating has a half-life of 5730 years, so it decays too fast.
It can only be used to date fossils younger than about 75,000 years.
This uses radioactive minerals that occur in rocks and fossils almost like a geological clock.
It’s often much easier to date volcanic rocks than the fossils themselves or the sedimentary rocks they are found in.
The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.