Romancing the stone: Index fossils and the elements of dating

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Figuring out how old fossils are remains one of the most important aspects of paleontological research, and one of the simplest ways of doing so is by comparing a fossil against other fossils found within the same sediment layer for which the ages are roughly known. These time-calibrated fossils, also known as index fossils, often comprise of commonly found fossils such as trilobites and ammonites.