This helps us to understand how that species fits into the evolutionary tree of change; when did they first appear and when did the last of their kind walk this Earth? Radiometric dating involves exploiting the radioactive decay of unstable atoms naturally present in the structure of bones and rocks. In old dinosaur bones, the material is buried under layers upon layers of sediment under high pressure.
Geologists use radiometric dating to estimate how long ago rocks formed, and to infer the ages of fossils contained within those rocks. Radioactive elements decay The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements. Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms.
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