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Fossils are actually the remains of different creatures that lived thousands or millions of years back. Once these animals died, they were hidden in layers as well as layers of planet. While their flesh would certainly rot away, the more difficult components of their body, such as coverings, bones, etc, would stay undamaged in between the layers of sediment. Now, all those years later, those bones and shells can still be discovered, undamaged, as those layers of sediment are once more unearthed.