By:Daniel J. Peppe(Department that Geology, Baylor University)&Alan L. Deino(Berkeley Geochronology Center)©2013wgc2010.org Education


You are watching: If the same index fossils are found in two separate rock layers, the two rock layers most likely

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Citation:Peppe,D.J.&Deino,A.L.(2013)Dating Rocks and also Fossils utilizing Geologic Methods.wgc2010.org education Knowledge4(10):1
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Using relative and also radiometric date methods, geologists are able come answer the question: exactly how old is this fossil?

Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth"s surface has readjusted dramatically end the previous 4.6 billion years. Mountains have actually been built and eroded, continents and also oceans have actually moved great distances, and also the planet has fluctuated indigenous being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and also ice-free. These alters typically happen so slowly that they space barely detectable over the span of a human being life, yet also at this instant, the Earth"s surface ar is moving and also changing. Together these alters have occurred, organisms have actually evolved, and remnants of some have been maintained as fossils.

A fossil deserve to be studied to recognize what type of biology it represents, exactly how the biology lived, and also how it to be preserved. However, by itself a fossil has little an interpretation unless the is inserted within some context. The period of the fossil should be established so it have the right to be contrasted to other fossil species from the very same time period. Understanding the ages of connected fossil types helps scientists item together the evolutionary background of a team of organisms.

For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates developed from fossil primates and also that this evolutionary background took 10s of numerous years. By to compare fossils of various primate species, scientists have the right to examine exactly how features readjusted and just how primates developed through time. However, the age of each fossil primate requirements to be determined so the fossils that the same age uncovered in various parts of the world and also fossils of different ages deserve to be compared.

There room three general approaches that allow scientists to day geological materials and answer the question: "How old is this fossil?" First, the relative age of a fossil deserve to be determined. Relative dating place geologic events in chronological order there is no requiring the a particular numerical period be assigned to each event. Second, the is feasible to identify the numerical age for fossils or earth materials. Numerical periods estimate the date of a geological event and can occasionally reveal quite precisely when a fossil types existed in time. Third, magnetism in rocks deserve to be supplied to estimate the period of a fossil site. This an approach uses the orientation the the Earth"s magnetic field, which has readjusted through time, to determine eras for fossils and rocks.