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As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.Although most attention in today's world focuses on dinosaurs and why they became extinct, the world of paleontology includes many other interesting organisms which tell us about Earth's past history.The study of fossils and the exploration of what they tell scientists about past climates and environments on Earth can be an interesting study for students of all ages.

Radiometric dating, based on known rates of decay of radioactive isotopes in objects, allows a specific age of an object to be determined to some degree of accuracy.However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.Absolute dating methods are used to determine an actual date in years for the age of an object.Before the advent of absolute dating methods in the twentieth century, nearly all dating was relative.

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