Bivalves have inhabited the Earth for over 500 million years. They first appeared in the middle Cambrian, about 300 million years before the dinosaurs. They flourished in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and they abound in modern seas and oceans; their shells litter beaches across the globe. Some also occur in lakes and rivers. Fossil bivalves were formed when the sediments in which they were buried hardened into rock. Many closely resemble living forms, which helps us to understand how they must have lived.
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