Determine age fossils carbon dating
Most sediment is either laid down horizontally in bodies of water like the oceans, or on land on the margins of streams and rivers.
Each time a new layer of sediment is deposited it is laid down horizontally on top of an older layer.
Layers of rock are deposited horizontally at the bottom of a lake (principle of original horizontality).
Younger layers are deposited on top of older layers (principle of superposition).
For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.
By comparing fossils of different primate species, scientists can examine how features changed and how primates evolved through time.
This is the principle of original horizontality: layers of strata are deposited horizontally or nearly horizontally (Figure 2).
Thus, any deformations of strata (Figures 2 and 3) must have occurred after the rock was deposited.
However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.
Sometimes sedimentary rocks are disturbed by events, such as fault movements, that cut across layers after the rocks were deposited.
This is the principle of cross-cutting relationships.
The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.
Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.
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" First, the relative age of a fossil can be determined.