Dating prehistoric objects

This means that isotopes with a short half-life won't work to date dinosaur bones.

The short half-life is only part of the problem when dating dinosaur bones -- researchers also have to find enough of the parent and daughter atoms to measure.

At this point ancient art begins, for the older literate cultures.

The end-date for what is covered by the term thus varies greatly between different parts of the world.

Only hard parts, like bones and teeth, can become fossils.

The element's half-life is the amount of time it takes for half the parent atoms in a sample to become daughters.The earliest human artifacts showing evidence of workmanship with an artistic purpose are the subject of some debate.It is clear that such workmanship existed by 40,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic era, although it is quite possible that it began earlier.The more parent isotopes there are -- and the fewer daughter isotopes -- the younger the sample.The half-life of the isotope being measured determines how useful it is at dating very old samples.

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