Again, this doesn't tell them exactly how old the layers are, but it does give them an idea of the ordered sequence of events that occurred over the history of that geologic formation.Sort of an offshoot of stratigraphic succession is fossil succession, or a method in which scientists compare fossils in different rock strata to determine the relative ages of each.The first method that scientists use to determine the age of rocks is relative dating.In this method, scientists compare different layers of rock to determine an ordered sequence of events in geologic history.But really, how do scientists figure out how old their dinosaur bones are?And, what about other findings like fossil fish, plants and insects?In 1905, Ernest Rutherford figured out that we could use radiation to establish the ages of rocks.By studying how the mass of uranium changed with radioactive decay, Rutherford was able to determine the age of a rock containing a uranium mineral. It meant that scientists could suddenly establish the actual ages of all their rocks and fossils!
So, what if Paul found that superus awesomus dinosaur fossil in this middle layer?
Along the way, we'll learn how stratigraphic succession and radioactive decay contribute to the work of paleontologists.
Consider the following scenario: Paul the Paleontologist is a very famous scientist who has studied dinosaur bones all over the world.
Scientists know that the layers they see in sedimentary rock were built up in a certain order, from bottom to top.
When they find a section of rock that has a lot of different strata, they can assume that the bottom-most layer is the oldest and the top-most layer is the youngest.