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).

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Source: GNS Science

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Hamish Campbell, 'Fossils - What are fossils?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2024)

Story by Hamish Campbell, published 12 Jun 2006