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Fossils are literally the remains of numerous animals that lived thousands or millions of years ago. When these animals passed away, they were buried in layers and also layers of earth. While their flesh would certainly rot away, the harder components of their body, such as shells, bones, etc, would certainly remain intact in between the layers of sediment. Currently, all those years later on, those bones and shells can still be located, intact, as those layers of debris are once again unearthed.