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Over hundreds to thousands of millions of years, continents, oceans and mountain ranges have moved vast distances both vertically and horizontally.For example, areas that were once deep oceans hundreds of millions of years ago are now mountainous desert regions.However, the end of the Devonian was marked by the predominance of a different life form, plants, which in turn denotes the beginning of the Carboniferous Period.The different periods can be further subdivided (e.g.For instance, carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years.After an organism has been dead for 60,000 years, so little carbon-14 is left that accurate dating can not be established.

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These sequences apply from the beginning of the Cambrian period, which contains the first evidence of macro-fossils.Early Cambrian, Middle Cambrian and Late Cambrian).This is the latest version of the time scale, as revised and published in 2012.Fossil assemblages 'fingerprint' formations, even though some species may range through several different formations.This feature allowed William Smith (an engineer and surveyor who worked in the coal mines of England in the late 1700s) to order the fossils he started to collect in south-eastern England in 1793.

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