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Fossils are essentially the remains of different animals that lived thousands or countless years earlier. When these creatures died, they were buried in layers as well as layers of earth. While their flesh would certainly rot away, the more difficult parts of their body, such as coverings, bones, etc, would stay undamaged between the layers of debris. Now, all those years later on, those bones as well as shells can still be discovered, undamaged, as those layers of sediment are once more uncovered.