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Paleontologists now apply sophisticated mathematical techniques to assess the relative quality of particular fossil successions, as well as the entire fossil record.

These demonstrate that, of course, we do not know everything (and clearly never will), but we know enough.

As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.

Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.

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As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.

Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs.

A key point is that it is no longer necessary simply to accept one chemical determination of a rock’s age.Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades.The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.In the past 150 years they have not found any fossils that Darwin would not have expected.New discoveries have filled in the gaps, and shown us in unimaginable detail the shape of the great ‘tree of life’.

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