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With sensitive instrumentation, this range can be extended to 70,000 years.
In addition to the radiocarbon dating technique, scientists have developed other dating methods based on the transformation of one element into another.
If a certain kind of pollen is found in an archaeological site, scientists can check when the plant that produced that pollen lived to determine the relative age of the site.
Absolute dating methods are carried out in a laboratory.
Since certain species of animals existed on Earth at specific times in history, the fossils or remains of such animals embedded within those successive layers of rock also help scientists determine the age of the layers.
Similarly, pollen grains released by seed-bearing plants became fossilized in rock layers.
The most widely used and accepted form of absolute dating is radioactive decay dating. Radioactive decay refers to the process in which a radioactive form of an element is converted into a nonradioactive product at a regular rate.Radioactive decay: The predictable manner in which a population of atoms of a radioactive element spontaneously disintegrate over time.Stratigraphy: Study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.The age of the remains of plants, animals, and other organic material can be determined by measuring the amount of carbon-14 contained in that material.Carbon-14, a radioactive form of the element carbon, is created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays (invisible, high-energy particles that constantly bombard Earth from all directions in space).