Relative dating principles of rocks

For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.

By comparing fossils of different primate species, scientists can examine how features changed and how primates evolved through time.

relative dating principles of rocks-5

Second, it is possible to determine the numerical age for fossils or earth materials.

Numerical ages estimate the date of a geological event and can sometimes reveal quite precisely when a fossil species existed in time.

Layers of rock are deposited horizontally at the bottom of a lake (principle of original horizontality).

Younger layers are deposited on top of older layers (principle of superposition).

The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.

Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.

A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.

However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.

The layers of rock at the base of the canyon were deposited first, and are thus older than the layers of rock exposed at the top (principle of superposition).

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