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Relative dating methods allow one to determine if an object is earlier than, later than, or contemporary with some other object.
In each period of earth's history different fauna and flora evolved with similar faunas being characteristic of similar beds.
These processes result in All of these processes confuse the stratigraphic record.
In many cases, however, it is possible to reconstruct the original sequence of strata so that they can be used for relative dating.
There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.
Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.
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This principle presumes that the oldest layer of a stratigraphic sequence will be on the bottom and the most recent, or youngest, will be on the top.