Scientific definition relative dating
Two of the most well-known and most frequently used include radioactive dating and relative dating. Organic bodies, such as you and me, as well as inanimate objects, such as stone tablets or rocks.
Phrased simply, radioactive dating is the method that uses measurements relating to the radioactivity of the atoms in a fossil or an artifact. What "decay" means is that the atoms in the object or body become unstable, and, over time, begin to "decompose" by giving off radiation in the forms of subatomic particles (such as electrons and protons).
There are different types of radiation: specifically, gamma, alpha and beta radiation. This process of radioactive decay eventually leads to the atoms becoming a different element and achieving stability.
For example, in decomposing organic bodies - such as an animal carcass - carbon-14, an isotope of carbon, is present.
This, of course, is so that it can be properly catalogued, and, if valid, can be related to or associated with other objects from the same era. Fossils and artifacts don't come with labels attached that clearly state their age.
Therefore, scientists need to make use of proper techniques to adequately specify what the age of a fossil or artifact is.
For example, sometimes the strata of a certain region are in the exact opposite sequence or order to how geologists expect them to be using the geological time scale. This is not to imply radiometric dating is immediately superior to relative dating and is fully correct.
In fact, some are of the opinion that its results are actually more of a rough estimate or less trustworthy than the results obtained from radioactive dating. Because the results rely heavily, not necessarily on the position of the fossil or its stratum (which is still an extremely important primary factor), but rather the way in which the scientist interprets it, which means it is vulnerable to bias, miscalculations, and so on. Both are not entirely inaccurate, but neither are both entirely accurate.