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We discuss how the chronology of terrestrial sediments can be refined when sound systematics of the contained fossils is combined with paleomagnetic data. In the absence of other means of dating Neogene deposits of China, strata can be ordered in time on the basis of their contained fossils. Biochronology alone attains good but unqualified accuracy in a biogeographically restricted system, such as China; dating the biochronology requires relationship in time to other systems of known age. This can be achieved by building a long composite of successive assemblages, faunal correlation at times of low endemism, identification of tie points in the chronology by using index fossils, and age estimation through paleomagnetic correlation. Late Neogene examples from China illustrate how that sequence of ordered faunas can be placed in a time scale through faunal comparison with the Yushe Basin (Shanxi Province) magnetostratigraphic sequence, and how the increased information content can be applied to new problems in geochronology. New data from Yushe Basin identify an Ertemte-like assemblage at Jiayucun in reversely magnetized rock. This is correlated with early Gilbert Chron. The Jingle and Youhe reference faunas are correlated with Gauss Chron Yushe assemblages. Nihewan-like assemblages are correlated with the Matuyama Chron, some being pre-Olduvai Subchron, and therefore Pliocene in age.

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