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This new date agreed with the appearance of the new skull.Tests by other scientists using paleomagnetism and fission tracks confirmed the lower date.So by 1980 there was a new, remarkably concordant date for the KBS tuff, and this became the one that was widely accepted.Which illustrates that, contrary to popular belief, the dating methods are not the primary way that ages are decided. Their results are always ‘interpreted’ to agree with other factors, such as the evolutionary interpretation of geology and fossils.Using new samples of feldspar and pumice they ‘reliably dated’ the tuff at 2.61 million years, which agreed nicely.Later, this date was confirmed by two other dating methods (paleomagnetism and fission tracks), and was widely accepted.Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.

Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.Then Richard Leakey found a skull (called KNM-ER 1470) the KBS tuff, a skull that looked far too modern to be 3 million years old.So Curtis and others redated the KBS tuff using selected pumice and feldspar samples, and obtained an age of 1.82 million years.The methods are all based on radioactive decay: The first radiometric dates, generated about 1920, showed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old.Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates.

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