Characteristics contemporary dating

Suppose, too, that all the layers contain a good representation of the animal life existing at the time of deposition.From an examination of such outcrops with special focus on the sequence of animal forms comes the empirical generalization that the faunas of the past have followed a specific order of succession, and so the relative age of a fossiliferous rock is indicated by the types of fossils it contains.fossil assemblages.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!

When information derived from two outcrops is integrated, the time interval they represent is probably greater than that of each alone.Following Smith’s pioneering work, generations of geologists have confirmed that similar and even more extensive fossil sequences exist elsewhere.To this day, fossils are useful as correlation tools to geologists specializing in stratigraphy.In other words, the fossil species must have had a short temporal range.On the practical side, an index fossil should be distinctive in appearance so as to prevent misidentification, and it should be cosmopolitan both as to geography and as to rock type.

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The more ways in which two rocks are physically alike, the more likely it is that the two formed at the same time.

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