The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.
Different isotopes have different half-lives and sometimes more than one present isotope can be used to get an even more specific age of a fossil.
For example: after the it forms a component of all organic compounds and is therefore fundamental to life. Libby of the University of Chicago predicted the existence of carbon-14 before it was actually detected and formulated a hypothesis that radiocarbon might exist in living matter.
The New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford, suggested in 1905 that the exact age of a rock could be measured by means of radioactivity.
For the first time he was able to exactly measure the age of a uranium mineral.
This technique relies on the property of half-life.
Half-life is defined as the time it takes for one half of a radioactive element to decay into a daughter isotope.
Fossils are collected along with rocks that occur from the same strata.