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Keyed to the relative time scale are examples of index fossils, the forms of life which existed during limited periods of geologic time and thus are used as guides to the age of the rocks in which they are preserved.William "Strata" Smith, a civil engineer and surveyor, was well acquainted with areas in southern England where "limestone and shales are layered like slices of bread and butter." His hobby of collecting and cataloging fossil shells from these rocks led to the discovery that certain layers contained fossils unlike those in other layers.

Please remember that all dating methods, even those termed "absolute," are subject to margins of error. That is a very small amount of possible error range. Modern studies almost always use two or more methods to confirm dating work and to build confidence in the results obtained.Hutton, a Scottish geologist, first proposed formally the fundamental principle used to classify rocks according to their relative ages.He concluded, after studying rocks at many outcrops, that each layer represented a specific interval of geologic time.Dating is not necessary to demonstrate that evolution is a fact.Chronological sequence is all that is really required.