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Evolution, working in tandem with geologic ages, can explain why we have index fossils, but evolution is needed to make the index fossils useful for dating strata.
While we're on this subject, you might wish to know the odds of arranging the Precambrian era, the seven geologic periods of the Paleozoic (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian), the three periods of the Mesozoic (Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous), and the two periods of the Cenozoic (Paleogene, Neogene or Tertiary, Quaternary) in their proper order by pure chance.
Any kind of object clearly restricted to a specific point in the geologic column would do just fine.
If green dice were found only in the middle Ordovician strata, they would make excellent "index fossils." Evolution should be seen as an explanation of the faunal succession, a succession which was worked out long before evolution dominated the scene.
By the 1830's Adam Sedgwick and Roderick Murchison established a correlation between the various types of fossils and the rock formations in the British Isles.
It was found that certain fossils, now referred to as index fossils, were restricted to a narrow zone of strata.
Why should the percentage of lead to uranium in zircon crystals (the key to ordinary uranium-lead, radiometric dating) depend on which geologic period they are found in?
If most of the geologic column were created during Noah's flood, would it really matter whether a zircon crystal was found in Cambrian strata or Cretaceous strata, in Jurassic strata or Tertiary strata?
That is, an index fossil corresponded to a very specific point in the geologic column.One would think that the flood sediments (gathered from the four corners of the old antediluvian world) and their associated igneous rock (formed during the flood) would all register very little radiometric age.At the very least we would expect random fluctuations if the radiometric methods were totally at sea.The depth at which either is found can vary dramatically.
In the Grand Canyon area the Cambrian lies beneath a huge column of strata; in California's Mojave Desert portions of the Cambrian are exposed at the surface.By 1830 Lyell's famous textbook, Principles of Geology, came out. Such was the age of the great creationist geologists!