The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.
Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.
The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.
The man's body was recovered and pieces of tissue were studied for their C content by accelerator mass spectroscopy.
The best estimate from this dating technique says the man lived between 33 BC. From the ratio, the time since the formation of the rock can be calculated.
The boat of a pharaoh was discovered in a sealed crypt and reassembled in a museum near the pyramids (see Fig. The age of our galaxy and earth also can be estimated using radioactive dating.
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For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.
Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.
Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.
Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.