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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 rot away, the more challenging components of their body, such as shells, bones, etc, would certainly stay intact between the layers of sediment. Currently, all those years later on, those bones and shells can still be discovered, undamaged, as those layers of sediment are again discovered.