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Then after another 5,000 years half of the remaining parent isotope will have decayed.

While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils.

These isotopes break down at a constant rate over time through radioactive decay.

By measuring the ratio of the amount of the original (parent) isotope to the amount of the (daughter) isotopes that it breaks down into an age can be determined.

This uses radioactive minerals that occur in rocks and fossils almost like a geological clock.