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You might have read an article on this page ( http://wiki.ros.org/urdf/Tutorials/Using%20Xacro%20to%20Clean%20Up%20a%20URDF%20File ). Xacro file is macro file of urdf. Xacro file allow us to make it easier to maintain the robot description files. So you can convert urdf.xacro to urdf in launch.

< param name="robot_description" 
   command="$(find xacro)/xacro.py '$(find pr2_description)/robots/pr2.urdf.xacro'" />

If you have a turtlebot, I think that you have launched minimal.launch. The description.launch.xml in /turtlebot_bringup/launch/includes also describes robot_description for a turtlebot. Rviz need a robot_description to show a robot model.