Compare and contrast relative and absolute dating
By using the known decay rate of C-14 as a reference and working out how much of the fossil's composition consists of C-14 and how much of it consists of N-14, they can approximate the age.
But what about inorganic objects, such as, say, stone tablets, or rocks?
This, of course, is so that it can be properly catalogued, and, if valid, can be related to or associated with other objects from the same era. Fossils and artifacts don't come with labels attached that clearly state their age.
Therefore, scientists need to make use of proper techniques to adequately specify what the age of a fossil or artifact is.
A scientist may present a fossil's position or location in the strata accurately, but then interpret it as only a few thousand years old, whereas another may present it as many millions of years old. However, it must be noted that radiometric dating seems to emerge as superior. Even though it is fallible, and a small chance holds that it may even be entirely inaccurate, radiometric dating relies more on fixed or solid variables and factors than relative dating does, thus having a smaller margin for error.
Two of the most well-known and most frequently used include radioactive dating and relative dating. Organic bodies, such as you and me, as well as inanimate objects, such as stone tablets or rocks.
Phrased simply, radioactive dating is the method that uses measurements relating to the radioactivity of the atoms in a fossil or an artifact. What "decay" means is that the atoms in the object or body become unstable, and, over time, begin to "decompose" by giving off radiation in the forms of subatomic particles (such as electrons and protons).
Some of these objects also contain a radioactive isotope. This radioactive isotope is uranium-238, and has a half-life of approximately 4.47 billion years (4 470 000 000 years).
This is a very extensive decay rate, but is still useful to scientists.