Proper age for dating

This clock representation shows some of the major units of geological time and definitive events of Earth history.

The Hadean eon represents the time before fossil record of life on Earth; its upper boundary is now regarded as 4.0 Ga (billion years ago).

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Some other planets and moons in the Solar System have sufficiently rigid structures to have preserved records of their own histories, for example, Venus, Mars and the Earth's Moon.

Dominantly fluid planets, such as the gas giants, do not preserve their history in a comparable manner.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) concurred with Aristotle's interpretation that fossils represented the remains of ancient life.

The 11th-century Persian geologist Avicenna (Ibn Sina, died 1037) and the 13th-century Dominican bishop Albertus Magnus (died 1280) extended Aristotle's explanation into a theory of a petrifying fluid.

For example, the lower Jurassic Series in chronostratigraphy corresponds to the early Jurassic Epoch in geochronology.

The adjectives are capitalized when the subdivision is formally recognized, and lower case when not; thus "early Miocene" but "Early Jurassic." Evidence from radiometric dating indicates that Earth is about 4.54 billion years old.

Other subdivisions reflect the evolution of life; the Archean and Proterozoic are both eons, the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic are eras of the Phanerozoic eon.

The three million year Quaternary period, the time of recognizable humans, is too small to be visible at this scale.

The existence, timing, and terrestrial effects of the Late Heavy Bombardment is still debated.

In Ancient Greece, Aristotle (384-322 BCE) observed that fossils of seashells in rocks resembled those found on beaches – he inferred that the fossils in rocks were formed by living animals, and he reasoned that the positions of land and sea had changed over long periods of time.

For example, the boundary between the Cretaceous period and the Paleogene period is defined by the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which marked the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs and many other groups of life.