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But really, how do scientists figure out how old their dinosaur bones are?

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The most common form of relative dating is called stratigraphic succession.

This is just a fancy term for the way rock layers are built up and changed by geologic processes.

Recently, he appeared on the evening news to talk about a new dinosaur he just discovered. Paul says he can tell from the fossils that superus awesomus lived on Earth about 175 million years ago.

Paul is super awesome, so I'm going to take him at his word.

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He could be pretty confident that his super awesome dinosaur was about 175 million years old.

Stratigraphic and fossil succession are good tools for studying the relative dates of events in Earth's history, but they do not help with numerical dating.

Scientists know that the layers they see in sedimentary rock were built up in a certain order, from bottom to top.

When they find a section of rock that has a lot of different strata, they can assume that the bottom-most layer is the oldest and the top-most layer is the youngest.

Let's say that Paul the Paleontologist found an iguanodon fossil in the light green layer shown above.

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