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The uranium-235 to lead-207 decay series is marked by a half-life of 704 million years.

These differing rates of decay help make uranium-lead dating one of the most reliable methods of radiometric dating because they provide two different decay clocks.

By anyone's standards, 50 billion years is a long time.

In fact, this form of dating has been used to date the age of rocks brought back to Earth from the moon.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.

Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.

This process begins as soon as a living thing dies and is unable to produce more carbon-14.

Plants produce carbon-14 through photosynthesis, while animals and people ingest carbon-14 by eating plants. Scientists determine the ages of once-living things by measuring the amount of carbon-14 in the material.

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. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.

However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

Radioactive dating uses the decay rates of radioactive substances to measure absolute ages of rocks, minerals and carbon-based substances, according to How Stuff Works.

Scientists know how quickly radioactive isotopes decay into other elements over thousands, millions and even billions of years.

It works because we know the fixed radioactive decay rates of uranium-238, which decays to lead-206, and for uranium-235, which decays to lead-207.

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