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Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to help determine the relative age of rock layers.

If certain fossils are typically found only in a particular rock unit and are found in many places worldwide, they may be useful as index or guide fossils in determining the age of undated strata.

By using this information from rock formations in various parts of the world and correlating the studies, scientists have been able to establish the geologic time scale.

This relative time scale divides the vast amount of earth history into various sections based on geological events (sea encroachments, mountain-building, and depositional events), and notable biological events (appearance, relative abundance, or extinction of certain life forms).

Objectives: When you complete this activity, you will be able to: (1) sequence information using items which overlap specific sets; (2) relate sequencing to the Law of Superposition; and (3) show how fossils can be used to give relative dates to rock layers.

*Earth and Space Science: Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.

The complete "Paleontology and Dinosaurs" module takes approximately four weeks to teach. " activity is a 30-minute introduction to geologic time.Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend.However, "relative" dating or time can be an easy concept for students to learn.The Law of Superposition, which states that in an undisturbed horizontal sequence of rocks, the oldest rock layers will be on the bottom, with successively younger rocks on top of these, helps geologists correlate rock layers around the world.This also means that fossils found in the lowest levels in a sequence of layered rocks represent the oldest record of life there.By matching partial sequences, the truly oldest layers with fossils can be worked out.

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