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The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.

Different isotopes have different half-lives and sometimes more than one present isotope can be used to get an even more specific age of a fossil.

This term refers to the relation of one stratigraphical unit to another, by petrological, osteological, lithographic, cultural, chronological, or palaeontological means.

Now that you know how many half-lives have passed for your fossil, you need to multiply your number of half-lives by how many years are in one half-life. Your fossil is of an organism (maybe human) that died 11,460 years ago.

Now it is time to put those math skills to good use.

At one half-life, you would have approximately 50% Carbon-14 and 50% Nitrogen-14.

SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chronometric dating; absolute dates; absolute chronology; absolute age determination (antonym: relative dating)CATEGORY: chronology; technique DEFINITION: The determination of age with reference to a specific time scale, such as a fixed calendrical system or in years before present (B.

P., BP), based on measurable physical and chemical qualities or historical associations such as coins and written records.

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