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Fossils are literally the remains of different creatures that lived thousands or millions of years earlier. When these animals passed away, they were hidden in layers and layers of earth. While their flesh would rot away, the tougher components of their body, such as shells, bones, etc, would certainly remain undamaged between the layers of sediment. Now, all those years later, those bones and coverings can still be discovered, intact, as those layers of sediment are once again unearthed.