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Radiometric dates, like all measurements in science, are close statistical approximations rather than absolutes.

The atoms of crystalline solids, such as pottery and rock, can be altered by this radiation.Specifically, the electrons of quartz, feldspar, diamond, or calcite crystals can become displaced from their normal positions in atoms and trapped in imperfections in the crystal lattice of the clay molecules.This does not mean that radiometric dates or any other scientific measurements are unreliable.billion years, the chronometric age of a sample can be calculated.This dating method can be used with samples that are as young as a few decades to as old as the earth and beyond.However, paleoanthropologists rarely use it to date sites more than several million years old.

rock, soil, and clay produce constant low amounts of background ionizing radiation.Following death, however, no new carbon is consumed.Progressively through time, the carbon-14 atoms decay and once again become nitrogen-14.In the example below, the bone must date to sometime between 1.75 and 1.5 million years ago.For instance, a date of 100,000 5,000 years ago means that there is a high probability the date is in the range of 95,000 and 105,000 years ago and most likely is around 100,000.The methods that are used depend on the presumed age of the site from which they were excavated.