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Fossils are literally the remains of various creatures that lived thousands or numerous years earlier. As soon as these creatures died, they were buried in layers and 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 between the layers of sediment. Now, all those years later, those bones as well as coverings can still be found, intact, as those layers of debris are again unearthed.