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Different species of ammonites lived at different times within the Mesozoic, so identifying a fossil species can help narrow down when a rock was formed.
Correlation can involve matching an undated rock with a dated one at another location.
This principle states that in a sequence of undisturbed sedimentary layers or lava flows, the oldest layers are at the bottom.
The laws of physics and chemistry that governed geologic processes in the past are the same as those that govern processes now and in the future.
So, let's imagine for a second that you have a 3-layered cake. So, by definition, the oldest layer of cake would be chocolate, as it was put there first. Now all of a sudden the big tower of cookies running through the middle of your cake is the youngest feature, as the other three layers in order for it to be there.
Your 3 layers will consist of a chocolate cake, a vanilla cake, and a cheesecake, because you're crazy and your cake doesn't have to conform to standards. On your plate, you put the chocolate cake on bottom, or the first layer. Then vanilla and cheesecake are the second and third oldest, respectively. Now that I've gotten you all hungry for cake and cookies let's talk about rocks instead.
Some of the most useful fossils for dating purposes are very small ones.