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The technique can, however, provide the relative ages of bones from the same site.Most fossils are found in sedimentary rocks deposited in layers.This relatively new technique was developed in order to achieve more accurate dates than those obtained from the potassium-argon method.The older method required two samples for dating and could produce imprecise dates if the argon was not fully extracted.This newer method converts a stable form of potassium (potassium-39) into argon-39.Measuring the proportions of argon-39 and argon-40 within a sample allows the age of the sample to be determined.The heat from a volcanic eruption releases all the argon from the molten rock and disperses it into the atmosphere.

Another useful chemical analysis technique involves calculating the amount of nitrogen within a bone.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.Fossils and other objects that accumulate between these eruptions lie between two different layers of volcanic ash and rock.An object can be given an approximate date by dating the volcanic layers occurring above and below the object.

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