Fossil age dating
Today, the hallmark of most mammal gliders is their herbivorous diet that typically consists of seeds, fruits and other soft parts of flowering plants.
But Maiopatagium and Vilevolodon lived in a Jurassic world where the plant life was dominated by ferns and gymnosperm plants like cycads, gingkoes and conifers - long before flowering plants came to dominate in the Cretaceous Period, and their way of life was also associated with feeding on these entirely different plants.
Since all living things are made up of carbon, the relative age of fossils, which were once live animal or plant life, can be calculated by estimating at what time the fossil was alive.
When the sun’s rays shine on the animals or plants and when this collides with nitrogen it creates Carbon 14, a radioisotope. That means that carbon-14 remnants will still be measurable when compared with the ratio of how this has diminished to the constant amount of Carbon 12 that remains constant.
Thus in fossil dating, the layer of the earth in which the fossil was found will be important in finding the age.
Once a working model has been found, this can be used to compare similar fossils.
The earth is layered by sedimentary soil and fossilized materials as it ages.
On the other hand, the abundance of argon in the Earth is relatively small because of its escape to the atmosphere during processes associated with volcanism.
They also show many skeletal features in their shoulder joints and forelimbs that gave the ancient animals the agility to be capable gliders.
Evolutionarily, the two fossils, discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation, northeast of Beijing, represent the earliest examples of gliding among extinct mammal ancestors. Luo said the two newly discovered creatures also share similar ecology with modern gliders, with some significant differences.
Wonder what another hundred years will add to the stash of knowledge about what has gone on before?
Add to that the knowledge that everything that ever was, still is, but is in another form.