Dating rocks with fossils

The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.

But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?

Such a preserved specimen is called a "fossil" if it is older than some minimum age, most often the arbitrary date of 10,000 years.

The observation that certain fossils were associated with certain rock strata led early geologists to recognize a geological timescale in the 19th century.

Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.

Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.

Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.

The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques.

The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossiliferous (fossil-containing) rock formations and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record.

The study of fossils across geological time, how they were formed, and the evolutionary relationships between taxa (phylogeny) are some of the most important functions of the science of paleontology.

' Are there any factors that can affect the amount of carbon in the atmosphere?

' There is strong indication, despite the large errors, that the present natural production rate exceeds the natural decay rate by as much as 25 percent.

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