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Fossils are actually the remains of different animals that lived thousands or countless years earlier. As soon as these creatures died, they were buried in layers and layers of planet. While their flesh would certainly rot away, the harder components of their body, such as coverings, bones, etc, would certainly stay intact between the layers of sediment. Currently, all those years later, those bones and shells can still be discovered, undamaged, as those layers of sediment are again uncovered.