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By measuring the amount of original and transformed atoms in an object, scientists can determine the age of that object.

Cosmic rays: Invisible, high-energy particles that constantly bombard Earth from all directions in space.

Relative dating not only determines which layers are older or younger, but also gives insight into the paleoenvironments that formed the particular sequence of rock.

A chance encounter between determined fishermen and a great white shark off the Tuscan coast in 1666 sparked a chain of events that would help change humans views of fossils and Earth’s geologic past (Cutler 2003, pp. Nicolas Steno (1638-1686) dissected the head of this shark and realized fossil tongue stones believed to be petrified snake or dragon tongues were actually fossil shark teeth (Prothero 1998, p. One problem still existed, how do fossils become embedded in solid rock?

Igneous intrusions are sometimes referred to as a seperate principle, the Hutton’s theory of uniformatarianism and the principles of stratigraphy would be fully developed and made popular by another Scottish geologist Charles Lyell (1797-1875) with his classic three volume work, first published from 1830 to 1833, entitled The science of stratigraphy changed humans’ view of the world from one, which was static to one that was dynamic and changing.

Not only did the rock layers indicate changing environments they also revealed that different life forms have existed in different times.

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In the process of disintegration, the atom gives off radiation (energy emitted in the form of waves). Each element decays at its own rate, unaffected by external physical conditions.

, characterisation of material cultures, definition of prehistoric territories and exchange patterns), but there are also many pitfalls associated with this approach, and these are not dealt with in this volume.