Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth's surface has changed dramatically over the past 4.6 billion years.
A fossil normally preserves only a portion of the deceased organism, usually that portion that was partially mineralized during life, such as the bones and teeth of vertebrates, or the chitinous or calcareous exoskeletons of invertebrates.
Fossils may also consist of the marks left behind by the organism while it was alive, such as animal tracks or feces (coprolites).
The implications of pervasive contamination and ancient variations in carbon-14 levels are steadfastly ignored by those who base their argument upon the dates….
While the method cannot be counted on to give good, unequivocal results, the numbers do impress people, and save them the trouble of thinking excessively.
The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossiliferous (fossil-containing) rock formations and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record.
The study of fossils across geological time, how they were formed, and the evolutionary relationships between taxa (phylogeny) are some of the most important functions of the science of paleontology.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.Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.Such a preserved specimen is called a "fossil" if it is older than some minimum age, most often the arbitrary date of 10,000 years.