Flexi Says: Geologist William Smith (1769-1839) identified the principle of faunal succession, which recognizes that: Some fossil types are never found with certain other fossil types (e.g. human ancestors are never found with dinosaurs) meaning that fossils in a rock layer represent what lived during the period the rock was deposited. Older features are replaced by more modern features in fossil organisms as species change through time; e.g. feathered dinosaurs precede birds in the fossil record. Fossil species with features that change distinctly and quickly can be used to determine the age of rock layers quite precisely.