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This is because new sediments are always laid down on top of sediments that have already been deposited.So, when looking at the history of a cliff face, it is important to read the story it tells from the bottom layer up.
But, even when the scientific methods of absolute dating are available, this method of dating has not lost its importance, as many a time we have to depend solely on relative dating.
"Absolute" dating means finding a specific age for an object.
A sample of volcanic ash, for instance, can be given an absolute date of 3.18 million years old.
The second method is called absolute dating and is done by analysing the amount of radioactive decay in the minerals of the rocks.
Scientists find out the age of a dinosaur fossil by dating not only the rocks in which it lies, but those below and above it.
A fossil will always be younger than fossils in the beds beneath it and this is called the principle of superposition.