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He worked in Southern England, and he got to see all kinds of different rock strata that were exposed in outcrops and canals.
William Smith collected fossils from his work sites and, over time, he learned to recognize which fossils tended to show up in which rock strata.
Well, let's go back to our surveyor, William Smith.
He was often presented with the problem of finding two different rock outcrops from two different periods.
We want fossils of plants and animals that lived for a relatively short amount of time, like a few hundred thousand years or so.
For example, human beings and modern elephants are part of the same assemblage because we live in the same time period.
Free 5-day trial You may already know how to date a fossil with a rock.
But did you know that we can also date a rock with a fossil?
We talked about relative dating of rocks and how scientists use stratigraphic succession to compare the ages of different rock layers.
You should already understand that the lower rock strata are generally older than the strata found higher up in the rock.
He began to identify rock layers by the fossils they contained, and he even noticed that the general order of strata was identical over many different parts of the country.