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Fossils are actually the remains of numerous animals that lived thousands or millions of years ago. Once these creatures passed away, they were hidden in layers and also layers of planet. While their flesh would certainly rot away, the more difficult parts of their body, such as shells, bones, etc, would remain undamaged between the layers of sediment. Now, all those years later, those bones as well as shells can still be found, undamaged, as those layers of sediment are once more discovered.