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Radiometric dating does not measure the age of an individual atom. It is a measure of the age of a quantity of atoms—a statistic. As with any statistical measure, its values may deviate around an average (see sampling error, Section 1.7). Imagine that one sample of rock is dated ten different ways. Nine of the test yield an age close to 225,000 years. One test yields an age of 3.2 million years. Do the nine consistent results imply that the one that deviates is incorrect, or does the one odd result invalidate the nine that are consistent?

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Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337408332

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Chapter
Section
BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337408332
Chapter 16, Problem 2CT
Textbook Problem
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Radiometric dating does not measure the age of an individual atom. It is a measure of the age of a quantity of atoms—a statistic. As with any statistical measure, its values may deviate around an average (see sampling error, Section 1.7). Imagine that one sample of rock is dated ten different ways. Nine of the test yield an age close to 225,000 years. One test yields an age of 3.2 million years. Do the nine consistent results imply that the one that deviates is incorrect, or does the one odd result invalidate the nine that are consistent?

Summary Introduction

To explain: During a radiometric dating of a rock, if nine consistent results invalidate one inconsistent result or the inconsistent result invalidates the other nine consistent ones.

Concept introduction:  Half-life is the time taken for one-half of atoms of radioactive isotope to decay, which is a characteristic of a radioisotope. The radiometric dating is a technique by which the fossils or age of a rock can be determined using the half-life calculations.

Explanation of Solution

The measurements that are produced through the experiments yield inconsistent results. To see whether the data are consistent, replication of the data must be done. If there involves the testing of more samples, we can gain more information about the data to check whether or not the results are statistically valid...

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