Radiometric dating of the most ancient fossils uses the
“I felt it was one of those days…when something terrific might happen.” Ignoring the already scorching heat and the mountain of paperwork on his worktable, Johanson hopped in a Land Rover with Gray and made the four-mile journey to a gully on an ancient, dried out lakebed.Before he left, he made a brief note in his journal: “To Locality 162 with Gray in AM.Footprints, flowers, even droppings; all of these things can be turned into fossils under the right conditions.
A paleontologist is a scientist that studies fossils.(Interactive time line: how the Ardipithecus ramidus discovery changes human evolutionary theory.) Ardi instead shows an unexpected mix of advanced characteristics and of primitive traits seen in much older apes that were unlike chimps or gorillas (interactive: Ardi's key features).As such, the skeleton offers a window on what the last common ancestor of humans and living apes might have been like.The most widely known form of radiometric dating is carbon-14 dating.
This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. The half-life of carbon-14 is only 5,730 years, so carbon-14 dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50,000 years old.
The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago.
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