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A fossilized Neanderthal bone will never be found in the same stratum as a fossilized Megalosaurus, for example, because neanderthals and megalosaurs lived during different geological periods, separated by many millions of years.This allows for strata to be identified and dated by the fossils found within.As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale.

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For instance, paleontologists investigating the evolution of birds predicted that feathers would first be seen in primitive forms on flightless predecessor organisms such as feathered dinosaurs.This principle, which received its name from the English geologist William Smith, is of great importance in determining the relative age of rocks and strata.The fossil content of rocks together with the law of superposition helps to determine the time sequence in which sedimentary rocks were laid down.Geochronologists do not claim that radiometric dating is foolproof (no scientific method is), but it does work reliably for most samples.It is these highly consistent and reliable samples, rather than the tricky ones, that have to be falsified for "young Earth" theories to have any scientific plausibility, not to mention the need to falsify huge amounts of evidence from other techniques.Evolution explains the observed faunal and floral succession preserved in rocks.Faunal succession was documented by Smith in England during the first decade of the 19th century, and concurrently in France by Cuvier (with the assistance of the mineralogist Alexandre Brongniart).The concept of long periods of time being required for reservoirs to assume their present form is difficult to grasp, particularly for those individuals who track daily oil and gas production from reservoirs.However, the lengthy formative processes for hydrocarbon reservoirs can be understood, and this understanding is important for proper knowledge of why a reservoir is built the way it is.More common to the study of sedimentary rocks is relative age dating, where the age of a particular rock is determined relative to its position within a stratigraphic succession.If sedimentary rocks are crosscut by datable igneous rocks, sometimes the absolute age range of deposition of the sedimentary rock can be determined.

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