Story: Fossils

Geological timescale

Geological timescale

Fossils record the changes of life on earth, and are used to date rocks that were formed over the last 540 million years. This is a simplified version of the internationally-accepted time scale. Ages on the right (in millions of years) are based on radiometric dating.

A much more detailed subdivision of the timescale has been undertaken in New Zealand, and a local version is used for dating rocks. No Precambrian rocks have yet been discovered, and the oldest known rocks and fossils in New Zealand are of Cambrian age (around 508 million years old).

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Source: GNS Science

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How to cite this page:

Hamish Campbell, 'Fossils - What are fossils?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/9019/geological-timescale (accessed 23 November 2019)

Story by Hamish Campbell, published 12 Jun 2006