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