How Do We Know the Age of Dinosaur Fossils?

ow Old are those Dinosaur Fossils?

Dinosaurs continue to fascinate us, and every discovery is cause for excitement. Have you ever wondered how scientists measure the age of fossils? How can they tell how old they are?

It matters because learning a fossil’s age can teach us about how the animal lived. Figuring out its age can help us figure out what it ate and where it lived. It’s the first step in reconstructing how a dinosaur survived all those centuries ago.

How Do We Know the Age of Dinosaur Fossils 3


Common Ways to Determine the Age of Dinosaur Fossils

Dinosaur skeletons for science allow researchers to estimate their age. There are two common methods for determining the age of fossils. These are relative aging and absolute aging.


Relative Aging

In relative aging, the scientist first figures out what else was alive during the same time period as the fossil. For instance, an archaeologist finds a pile of dinosaur eggs in a specific cave environment where dinosaurs nested. Because of earlier work, scientists already know the cave environment is 85 million years old. It’s a good chance the eggs are the same age.

A more accurate method is to compare the finding with other fossils at the same site. Scientists have found brachiopods, trilobites, and ammonites give the most accurate dating estimates. For this reason, they’re known as “index fossils.” Some findings can have more than one index fossil.

How Do We Know the Age of Dinosaur Fossils 2

Absolute Aging

In absolute aging, a scientist uses radiometric dating to tell how old a rock or fossil is. Radiometric dating can tell us what minerals, sediment, and radioactive materials are in the fossil. Sometimes, archaeologists use the rocks surrounding the fossil to determine the age of the fossil.

Telling time by mineral and rock formation is more accurate than relative aging. Scientists further refine their estimates by using isotope aging. This involves measuring the isotopes of minerals and other elements in the fossil. Isotope levels can tell us how quickly certain minerals decayed in the rocks. This gives us an accurate idea of when the fossil lived.


What About Carbon Dating for Dinosaur Fossils?

Researchers don’t use carbon to date fossils because it decays too quickly compared to other minerals. It can tell us the age of fossils that are 750,000 years old or younger. Scientists usually rely on dating potassium and other minerals to tell a dinosaur fossil’s age.


How Do We Know the Age of Dinosaur Fossils 1


How to Use Dinosaur Fossils Replica for Science

One of the best ways to teach dinosaur history is with realistic-looking replicas of dinosaur skeletons and fossils. Adults never seem to lose their childhood fascination with these ancient creatures. Using dinosaur fossils replica for science lets you tap into an interest shared by learners of all ages.

How Do We Know the Age of Dinosaur Fossils

More dinosaur fossil replicas for sale>>


Imagine using museum-quality replicas to explain scientific and historic concepts. You can make it happen exclusively through MyDinosaurs. Visit our site for a huge range of fascinating skeleton and fossil reconstructions. These replicas are designed for the world’s leading museums. They are perfect in every detail.

Use your imagination when you think about how to use dinosaur fossils replica for science teaching. We specialize in bringing dinosaurs to life. Discover more at MyDinosaurs, where we make dinosaur dreams come to life.