American physical chemist Willard Libby led a team of scientists in the post World War II era to develop a method that measures radiocarbon activity.
He is credited to be the first scientist to suggest that the unstable carbon isotope called radiocarbon or carbon 14 might exist in living matter. Libby and his team of scientists were able to publish a paper summarizing the first detection of radiocarbon in an organic sample. Libby who first measured radiocarbon’s rate of decay and established 5568 years ± 30 years as the half-life. Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in recognition of his efforts to develop radiocarbon dating.
These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.
As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.
Although most of the fossils that paleontologists study are several thousands to several billions of years old, there is no absolute minimum age for a biological structure to be a fossil.
Paleontologists study fossils and attempt to use them to reconstruct the history of the Earth and the life on it.
Anthropologists work with humans their cultures, societies, languages, and ways of life, in addition to their bones and artifacts.
However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.
Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering—the reason Jesus came into the world (See Six Days? He said, This only makes sense with a time-line beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago.
It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.
Some paleontologists study the ecology of the past; others work on the evolution of fossil taxa.
For additional information on the subdisciplines of paleontology, read our "What is paleontology? Archaeologists primarily work with human artifacts objects that have been made by humans and with human remains.