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Relative dating utilizes six fundamental principles to determine the relative age of a formation or event.The first principle is the Principle of Superposition which states that in an undisturbed succession of sedimentary rock, the oldest layers are on the bottom.Wind and water erode strata and some areas are uplifted or even tilted.These processes result in All of these processes confuse the stratigraphic record.
This concept known as the Principle of Lateral Continuity allows us to assume that similar layers of rock or sediment that are separated by a valley or other erosional feature were once continuos.
However, we must be careful to note whether or not the fossil comes from the mixed strata zone of the filled in hole..
However, the assumption of contemporaneity may not always be correct.
If conditions are right the remains of the dying organisms can then be preserved as fossils within the rock that formed from sediments that covered the remains.
Since, all sedimentary rock is formed through the gradual accumulation of sediment at the surface over time, and since the principle of superposition tells us that newer sediment is deposited on top of older sediment, the same must also be true for fossils contained within the sediment.
Therefore, the piece, or inclusion, must be younger than the material it is included in. Aside from single-celled bacteria, most living organism reside at or very near the Earth's surface either in continental or oceanic environments.