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In an effort to calculate the age of the planet, scientists turned to the rocks that cover its surface.

However, because plate tectonics constantly changes and revamps the crust, the first rocks have long since been recycled, melted down and reformed into new outcrops.

By dating the rocks in the ever-changing crust, as well as neighbors such as the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years.

Several attempts to scientifically date the planet have occurred over the past 400 years.

By examining the existing elements, scientists can calculate the initial quantity, and thus how long it took for the elements to decay, allowing them to determine the age of the rock.

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As science progressed, these methods were proven to be unreliable; for instance, the rise and fall of the ocean was shown to be an ever-changing process rather than a gradually declining one.Sometimes, the original remains are eroded away and not replaced by minerals.The result is a hollow depression in the rock called a mold.If the mold is then filled later with minerals the fossil is called a cast.Trace fossils are not the preserved remains of an organism at all, but rather evidence of life such as worm holes, footprints or tracks made in mud that eventually formed into a rock preserving them for thousands of years.

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