Ch 8: Geologic Time and Anthropology

About This Chapter

Watch online anthropology video lessons to learn about geologic evolution, radiometric and relative dating, fossil preservation and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Geologic Time and Anthropology - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Let instructors teaching this chapter introduce you to some of the methods geologists use to study the history of the Earth and its living organisms, even when they're millions of years old. Find out how fossilized dinosaur bones and in rare instances tissues or small organisms are used to discern where rocks and other fossils fall within the periods of geologic history. You can also learn about some of the dating methods that measure the energy released by radioactive isotopes of decaying organisms. Lessons in this chapter are designed to teach you the following:

  • Differences between catastrophism and uniformitarianism
  • Subdivisions in the geologic time scale
  • Principles and laws used in relative dating
  • Types of radiometric dating

Video Objectives
Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs Explore the lengths of eons, eras, periods and epochs.
Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs. Uniformitarianism Learn how geologists use the theories of catastrophism and uniformitarianism to explain the Earth's history.
Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating Discover the uses of stratigraphic succession, fossil succession, radioactive decay and radiometric dating to determine the ages of fossils and rocks.
What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships Learn how each of these principles relate to stratigraphic succession and relative dating.
Principles of Radiometric Dating Investigate the relationship between an atomic nucleus and the type of radioactive decay observed.
Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life Take a closer look at how the half-life of a radioactive isotope is used to determine the ages of fossils. Explore methods of uranium-lead, potassium-argon, rubidium-strontium and radiocarbon dating.
Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements Identify the role of rapid burial in fossil preservation. Examine the effects of natural elements on an organism's decomposition.
Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time Learn how index fossils and the principle of fossil succession are used to correlate strata.

8 Lessons in Chapter 8: Geologic Time and Anthropology
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

1. Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

The geologic time scale is an essential tool for understanding the history of Earth and the evolution of life. In this lesson, explore the principal eons, eras, periods, and epochs that help us track major events in geologic history.

Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

2. Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

Geologists haven't always agreed about the history of our planet. They have debated between catastrophism and uniformitarianism over the last few hundred years! Learn about the two main theories of geologic evolution and how scientists came to resolve the dispute.

Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

3. Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

Learn how scientists determine the ages of rocks and fossils. We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating. Along the way, we'll learn how stratigraphic succession and radioactive decay contribute to the work of paleontologists.

What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

4. What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age. Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past. We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!

Principles of Radiometric Dating

5. Principles of Radiometric Dating

Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and other materials based on the rate of radioactive decay. Learn about three common types of radioactive decay: alpha decay, beta decay and gamma decay.

Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

6. Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.

Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

7. Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

Learn how fossils are formed and how varying conditions affect the preservation of organisms. What is the best way for a dinosaur to become fossilized? Find out here!

Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

8. Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

You may already know how to date a fossil with a rock. But did you know that we can also date a rock with a fossil? Watch this video to find out how we use index fossils to establish the relative ages of rocks.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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