Instead, other methods are used to work out a fossil’s age.
These include radiometric dating of volcanic layers above or below the fossils or by comparisons to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.
Knowing when a dinosaur or other animal lived is important because it helps us place them on the evolutionary family tree.
Accurate dates also allow us to create sequences of evolutionary change and work out when species appeared or became extinct. These are: Where possible, several different methods are used and each method is repeated to confirm the results obtained and improve accuracy.
This problem is now reduced by the careful collection of samples, rigorous crosschecking and the use of newer techniques that can date minute samples.