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He also found that certain animals were in only certain layers and that they were in the same layers all across England.

Due to that discovery, Smith was able to recognize the order that the rocks were formed.

As a result, xenoliths are older than the rock which contains them.

The principle of original horizontality states that the deposition of sediments occurs as essentially horizontal beds.

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This principle allows sedimentary layers to be viewed as a form of vertical time line, a partial or complete record of the time elapsed from deposition of the lowest layer to deposition of the highest bed.The principle of inclusions and components explains that, with sedimentary rocks, if inclusions (or clasts) are found in a formation, then the inclusions must be older than the formation that contains them.For example, in sedimentary rocks, it is common for gravel from an older formation to be ripped up and included in a newer layer.Though relative dating can only determine the sequential order in which a series of events occurred, not when they occurred, it remains a useful technique.Relative dating by biostratigraphy is the preferred method in paleontology and is, in some respects, more accurate.

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