In diagrams, It is common to depict geological periods to be directly on top of each other with fossils of that period within them. When looking for evidence of this, I have only found examples of trilobites and shells. However it is common to see this sort of ordering depicted with dinosaurs in them http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/complex_life/fossil_record.html

In high school my teacher said that at the grand canyon we find no fossils at the bottom, further up we find shells, above that we find jellyfish, then fish, then reptiles, then mammals. After doing research I found out that this was not the case. Now I suspect that diagrams that depict this ordering of the fossil record with dinosaurs maybe deception or at least a representation of the fossil record that can be easily misinterpreted by laymen.

So are there any examples of this sort of ordering?

Note: I know the wording of the question is quite terrible. Feel free to edit it.

  • Would it be useful to insert the following text to the question? It's easy to find "notable claims" for this e.g. by searching Google for 'fossil layers' ... for example, [Fossils help geologists establish the ages of layers of rock](http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/108884/Fossils-help-geologists-establish-the-ages-of-layers-of-rock) – ChrisW Feb 11 '15 at 17:12
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    I am finding the question title confusing. Have I got this right? You want to know whether the typical public understanding of palaeontology is correct - i.e. that there are strata of rocks underground that were laid in successive geologic periods, that more recent layers appear higher**, and that each layer only includes fossils of lifeforms that were present in the corresponding geologic period. – Oddthinking Feb 11 '15 at 23:20
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    @LorenPechtel: If the OP is asking in good faith, we don't require that. See this meta-question. – Oddthinking Feb 11 '15 at 23:23
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    @Oddthinking I think the important part of the question is "directly on top". So, a layer of rock with fossils, and a different layer of rock with different fossils elsewhere (e.g. miles away) wouldn't count. Are there examples of layers with different fossils "directly on top" of each other? Apparently the OP's teacher claimed that the Grand Canyon was thus, and the OP has learned that it isn't. – ChrisW Feb 12 '15 at 0:12
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    Also on Earth Science. – HDE 226868 Feb 15 '15 at 1:57