Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Radiometric Dating

Any of a number of techniques that exploit the properties of unstable isotopes, all of which change stochastically into a lower energy state by emission of radioactivity. Because radioactive elements decay into daughter products at known and stable rates, measurement of the accumulated decay can be extrapolated to yield the age of many fossils and fossil-bearing rocks. See, for example, radiocarbon dating.

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