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It is therefore essential to have as much information as possible about the material being dated and to check for possible signs of alteration. Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on multiple samples from different locations of the rock body.Alternatively, if several different minerals can be dated from the same sample and are assumed to be formed by the same event and were in equilibrium with the reservoir when they formed, they should form an isochron. In uranium-lead dating, the concordia diagram is used which also decreases the problem of nuclide loss.Finally, correlation between different isotopic dating methods may be required to confirm the age of a sample.
However, a more powerful tool was the fossilised remains of ancient animals and plants within the rock strata.Divisions in the geological time scales still use fossil evidence and mark major changes in the dominance of particular life forms.For example, the Devonian Period is known as the 'Age of Fishes', as fish began to flourish at this stage.However, the end of the Devonian was marked by the predominance of a different life form, plants, which in turn denotes the beginning of the Carboniferous Period.The different periods can be further subdivided (e.g.