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The principle states that any geologic features that cut across strata must have formed after the rocks they cut through (Figures 2 and 3).

According to the principle of original horizontality, these strata must have been deposited horizontally and then titled vertically after they were deposited.

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.

The study of strata is called stratigraphy, and using a few basic principles, it is possible to work out the relative ages of rocks.

Just as when they were deposited, the strata are mostly horizontal (principle of original horizontality).

Applying the principle of cross-cutting relationships, this fault that offsets the layers of rock must have occurred after the strata were deposited.Layers of rock are deposited horizontally at the bottom of a lake (principle of original horizontality).Younger layers are deposited on top of older layers (principle of superposition)." First, the relative age of a fossil can be determined.Relative dating puts geologic events in chronological order without requiring that a specific numerical age be assigned to each event.