Fossils can consist of imprints in sedimentary rock, petrified remains, or even an entire specimen preserved in amber, ice, or tar. While most fossils contain the element carbon in some quantity, a particular type known as a carbon film fossil is composed primarily of carbon. All living things contain carbon, and when a dead organism lays on a rock, an extremely thin layer of carbon is deposited onto the rock over time. This decaying process is called carbonization or distillation. They are usually black or brown, standing out in contrast to the color of the rock.
Carbondated dinosaur bones are less than 40, years old. Researchers have found a reason for the puzzling survival of soft tissue and collagen in dinosaur bones - the bones are younger than anyone ever guessed. Carbon C dating of multiple samples of bone from 8 dinosaurs found in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana revealed that they are only 22, to 39, years old. Since dinosaurs are thought to be over 65 million years old, the news is stunning - and more than some can tolerate. After the AOGS-AGU conference in Singapore, the abstract was removed from the conference website by two chairmen because they could not accept the findings.
How Do Scientists Determine the Age of Dinosaur Bones?
In this section we will explore the use of carbon dating to determine the age of fossil remains. Carbon is a key element in biologically important molecules. During the lifetime of an organism, carbon is brought into the cell from the environment in the form of either carbon dioxide or carbon-based food molecules such as glucose; then used to build biologically important molecules such as sugars, proteins, fats, and nucleic acids. These molecules are subsequently incorporated into the cells and tissues that make up living things. Therefore, organisms from a single-celled bacteria to the largest of the dinosaurs leave behind carbon-based remains.
Organic matter in the fossil record generally dates by carbon 14 C14 dating to about 20, to 40, years. Why is this? Why are the dates so different?