Trees from the same species, growing in the same area or environment will be exposed to the same conditions, and hence their growth rings will match at the point where their lifecycles overlap.
Earth's oldest living inhabitant "Methuselah" at 4,767 years, has lived more than a millennium longer than any other tree.
Using these key or index fossils as markers, Smith could identify a particular layer of rock wherever it was exposed.
Because fossils actually record the slow but progressive development of life, scientists use them to identify rocks of the same age throughout the world.
These tests have consistently given the same ages for each of these objects.
Examples of a number of consistent dates derived from different methods are given.
Dating is not necessary to demonstrate that evolution is a fact.
William "Strata" Smith, a civil engineer and surveyor, was well acquainted with areas in southern England where "limestone and shales are layered like slices of bread and butter." His hobby of collecting and cataloging fossil shells from these rocks led to the discovery that certain layers contained fossils unlike those in other layers.
However, human beings love to see factual precision, and we want to know how old something is.
Please remember that all dating methods, even those termed "absolute," are subject to margins of error. That is a very small amount of possible error range. Modern studies almost always use two or more methods to confirm dating work and to build confidence in the results obtained.
Many of these links also appear where appropriate below.
James Hutton and William Smith advanced the concept of geologic time and strengthened the belief in an ancient world.