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Fossils are actually the remains of various animals that lived thousands or millions of years earlier. When these animals died, they were hidden in layers and layers of planet. While their flesh would certainly rot away, the more difficult parts of their body, such as shells, bones, etc, would stay undamaged between the layers of debris. Currently, all those years later on, those bones as well as coverings can still be found, undamaged, as those layers of sediment are once again discovered.