Relative dating is the same as radioactive dating
For example, in decomposing organic bodies - such as an animal carcass - carbon-14, an isotope of carbon, is present.
Overtime, the C-14 atoms give off radiation, and, eventually, transform into nitrogen-14 atoms.
Therefore, scientists need to make use of proper techniques to adequately specify what the age of a fossil or artifact is.
Two of the most well-known and most frequently used include radioactive dating and relative dating. Organic bodies, such as you and me, as well as inanimate objects, such as stone tablets or rocks.
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This is a very extensive decay rate, but is still useful to scientists.
Much in the same way used to approximate the age of organic fossils, scientists use uranium-238's decay rate and the uranium-238 to lead-206 (which it decays into) ratio to approximate an age to assign to the object.
This, of course, is so that it can be properly catalogued, and, if valid, can be related to or associated with other objects from the same era. Fossils and artifacts don't come with labels attached that clearly state their age.Phrased simply, radioactive dating is the method that uses measurements relating to the radioactivity of the atoms in a fossil or an artifact. What "decay" means is that the atoms in the object or body become unstable, and, over time, begin to "decompose" by giving off radiation in the forms of subatomic particles (such as electrons and protons).There are different types of radiation: specifically, gamma, alpha and beta radiation. This process of radioactive decay eventually leads to the atoms becoming a different element and achieving stability.If a fossil is found, it means it is organic in nature, and thus has or will have contained C-14 atoms.By using the known decay rate of C-14 as a reference and working out how much of the fossil's composition consists of C-14 and how much of it consists of N-14, they can approximate the age.
While questionable, it appears as though the living penguins were dated as 8000 years old. If this were not the case, and the decay rate was susceptible to change or was not constant, it would render all ages inaccurate.