Define relative dating of fossils
Certainly this seems like a very logical assumption. There are a number of potential problems with this interpretation of the fossil record.For example, it is interesting to note that some general kinds of fossilized creatures are very generally found in the same relative vertical orientation, with respect to each other in the fossil record, that they would have naturally been found in during life.
Generally, species that use a wide range of resources or tolerate a variety of abiotic conditions can establish more populations in more places than comparable species with relatively narrow niches (Brown, 1995; Cook and Quinn, 1995).Since each of these layers seems so specialized it is easy to conclude that one type of creature gave rise to the next type of creature over the course of whatever time it took to form the various layers between them.Radiometric dating and many other techniques are used to support the idea that this transformation process took tens and hundreds of millions of years.The standard approach to looking at fossils in the geological column is to assume that lower is older.Since the geologic column represents millions of years of Earth's history, then obviously the fossils in each of the layers must be the same age as the layer in which they are found.
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This pattern arises when species that appear on few islands occur only on the islands with the most species, while only the most widespread species are found on the islands with few species (Wright et al., 1998).