Carbometric dating dinosaur
The result is like a radioactive clock that ticks away as unstable isotopes decay into stable ones.
You can't predict when a specific unstable atom, or parent, will decay into a stable atom, or daughter.
Importantly, all of these new estimates seem to post-date traditional estimates for the origins of these groups that rely mostly on simple occurrence dates of the fossils, and don’t account for their evolutionary relationships. Writes for @PLOSpaleo & @Euro Geosciences, and freelances for whoever will take me!
This is important for evolutionary studies as it means that we can now more accurately assess the times of important steps in the global tree of life, and apply these to our large-scale understanding of the macroevolution of life on Earth. Palaeontologist into crocodiles, dinosaurs & mass extinctions. Passionate about open science, and Communications Director for Science Open.
That’s a tough question, and the reality is we’ll probably never actually know.
Eventually, some of the blocks can fall away, leaving a smaller, more stable structure.Only hard parts, like bones and teeth, can become fossils.But for some people, the discovery raised a different question.When paleontologist Mary Schweitzer found soft tissue in a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, her discovery raised an obvious question -- how the tissue could have survived so long?The bone was 68 million years old, and conventional wisdom about fossilization is that all soft tissue, from blood to brains, decomposes.
To read the time on this radioactive clock, scientists use a device called a mass spectrometer to measure the number of parent and daughter atoms.