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law of faunal succession


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The principle, first recognized at the beginning of the 19th century by William Smith, that different strata each contain particular assemblages of fossils by which the rocks may be identified and correlated over long distances; and that these fossil forms succeed one another in a definite and habitual order. This law, together with the law of superposition of strata, enables the relative age of a rock to be deduced from its content of fossil faunas and floras.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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