Index fossil relative dating

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The 20th century saw a large diversification of fossil energy consumption, with coal declining from 96 percent of total production in 1900 to less than 30 percent in 2000.

Today, crude oil is the largest energy source, accounting for around 39 percent of fossil energy, followed by coal and natural gas at 33 and 28 percent, respectively.

The principle of faunal succession, also known as the law of faunal succession, is based on the observation that sedimentary rock strata contain fossilized flora and fauna, and that these fossils succeed each other vertically in a specific, reliable order that can be identified over wide horizontal distances.

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 entry presents the long-run and recent perspectives on coal, oil and gas – global and national production, consumption, reserves, prices and their consequences.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 is precisely what has been discovered in the fossil record: simple feathers, incapable of supporting flight, are succeeded by increasingly large and complex feathers.In practice, the most useful diagnostic species are those with the fastest rate of species turnover and the widest distribution; their study is termed biostratigraphy, the science of dating rocks by using the fossils contained within them.In Cenozoic strata, fossilized tests of foraminifera are often used to determine faunal succession on a refined scale, each biostratigraphic unit (biozone) being a geological stratum that is defined on the basis of its characteristic fossil taxa. Simply, the earlier fossil life forms are simpler than more recent forms, and more recent forms are most similar to existing forms (principle of faunal succession).

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