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Ice man seeds

Ice man seeds

Otzi The Iceman

Otzi. also called Otzi the Iceman, the Similaun Man, the Man from Hauslabjoch, Homo tyrolensis, and the Hauslabjoch mummy, is a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BCE. Otzi was discovered in Europe 1991 in the Otztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border. He is Europe’s oldest known natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic Europeans. His body and belongings are displayed in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy.

Otzi was found by two German tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, on September 19, 1991. The body was at first thought to be a modern corpse, like several others which had been recently found in the region. It was roughly recovered by the Austrian authorities and taken to Innsbruck, where its true age was finally discovered. Subsequent surveys showed that the body had been located a few meters inside Italian territory. It is now on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bozen-Bolzano, Italy.

The body has been extensively examined, measured, x-rayed, and dated. Tissues and gut contents were examined microscopically, as was the pollen found on his gear. At the time of his death, Otzi was a 30-to-45-year old man, approximately 160 cm (5’3″) tall.

Using modern 3-D technology, a facial reconstruction has been created for the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. It shows Otzi looking old for his 45 years, with deep-set brown eyes, a beard, a furrowed face, and sunken cheeks. He is depicted looking tired and ungroomed.

Discovery – February 25, 2011
Brown-eyed, bearded, furrow faced, and tired: this is how Otzi the Iceman might have looked, according to the latest reconstruction based on 20 years of research and investigations. The model was produced with the latest in forensic mapping technology that uses three-dimensional images of the mummy’s skull as well as infrared and tomographic images. The new reconstruction shows a prematurely old man, with deep-set eyes, sunken cheeks, a furrowed face and ungroomed beard and hair. Although he looks tired, Otzi has vivid brown eyes. Indeed, recent research on the 5,300-year-old mummy has shown that the Stone Age man did not have blue eyes as previously thought. Believed to have died around the age of 45, Otzi was about 1.60 meters (5 foot, 3 inches) tall and weighed 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

In May 2012, scientists announced the discovery that Otzi still had intact blood cells. These are the oldest blood cells ever identified. In most bodies this old, the blood cells are either shrunken or mere remnants, but Otzi’s have the same dimensions as living red blood cells and resembled a modern-day sample.

Oetzi the Iceman’s blood is world’s oldest BBC – May 2, 2012
Researchers studying Oetzi, a 5,300-year-old body found frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991, have found red blood cells around his wounds. Blood cells tend to degrade quickly, and earlier scans for blood within Oetzi’s body turned up nothing.

A recent DNA study conducted by Walther Parson of Innsbruck Medical University revealed Otzi has 19 living genetic relatives.

Scientists say Otzi the Iceman has living relatives, 5,300 years later NBC – October 15, 2013
A researcher examines the 5,300-year-old body of Otzi the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy. No next-of-kin was around to claim the frozen 5,300-year-old body of Otzi the Iceman when it was found in the Italian Alps in 1991, but researchers now report that there are at least 19 genetic relatives of Otzi living in Austria’s Tyrol region.

Link to Oetzi the Iceman found in living Austrians BBC – October 10, 2013
Austrian scientists have found that 19 Tyrolean men alive today are related to Oetzi the Iceman, whose 5,300-year-old frozen body was found in the Alps. Their relationship was established through DNA analysis by scientists from the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University. The men have not been told about their connection to Oetzi. The DNA tests were taken from blood donors in Tyrol.

Oetzi the Iceman’s nuclear genome gives new insights BBC – February 28, 2012
New clues have emerged in what could be described as the world’s oldest murder case: that of Oetzi the “Iceman”, whose 5,300-year-old body was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991. Oetzi’s full genome has now been reported in Nature Communications. It reveals that he had brown eyes, “O” blood type, was lactose intolerant, and was predisposed to heart disease. They also show him to be the first documented case of infection by a Lyme disease bacterium. Analysis of series of anomalies in the Iceman’s DNA also revealed him to be more closely related to modern inhabitants of Corsica and Sardinia than to populations in the Alps, where he was unearthed.

Gene Map to Give Insight into 5,200-year-old Iceman Live Science – August 5, 2010
Iceman, the Neolithic mummy found accidentally in the Eastern Alps by German hikers in 1991, has offered researchers all sorts of clues to life 5,200 years ago, from his goat-hide coat to the meat and unleavened bread in his stomach to the arrow wound in his shoulder.

Otzi apparently had whipworm (Trichuris trichiura), an intestinal parasite. During CT scans, it was observed that three or four of his right ribs had been cracked when he had been lying face down after death, or where the ice had crushed his body. One of his fingernails (of the two found) shows three Beau’s lines indicating he was sick three times in the six months before he died. The last incident, two months before he died, lasted about two weeks.

Also, it was found that his epidermis, the outer skin layer, was missing, a natural process from his mummification in ice. Otzi’s teeth showed considerable internal deterioration from cavities. These oral pathologies may have been brought about by his grain-heavy, high carbohydrate diet. DNA analysis in February 2012 revealed that Otzi was lactose intolerant, supporting the theory that lactose intolerance was still common at that time, despite the increasing spread of agriculture and dairying.

Otzi the iceman used Acupuncture: Europe’s oldest mummy is covered in prick-marks that were a primitive form of joint pain relief 5,300 years ago Daily Mail – September 24, 2018
Otzi the Iceman may have benefited from a form of prehistoric healthcare, tattoos on his remains suggest. Strange patterns discovered around some of the joints on his body may be evidence of a surprisingly sophisticated system of medicine, researchers say. Some of these lines and dots are focused around points traditional used in acupuncture and could have relieved pain in his aging ankles and wrists. The 5,300-year-old mummified man known as Otzi was found in a glacier in the Alps in 1991, between what is now Austria and Italy. Since his discovery, the copper-age hunter has been examined by multiple teams of scientists, with new discoveries coming to light each time.

Neolithic Iceman Otzi Had Bad Teeth Science Daily – April 10, 2013
Periodontitis, Tooth Decay, Accident-Related Dental Damage in Ice Mummy – The latest scientific findings provide interesting information on the dietary patterns of the Neolithic Iceman and on the evolution of medically significant oral pathologies.

Analysis of Otzi’s gut contents showed two meals, one of ibex meat, the second of red deer meat, both consumed with some grain. Pollen in the first meal showed that it had been consumed in a mid-altitude conifer forest.

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Analysis of Otzi’s intestinal contents showed two meals (the last one consumed about eight hours before his death), one of chamois meat, the other of red deer and herb bread. Both were eaten with grain as well as roots and fruits. The grain from both meals was a highly processed einkorn wheat bran, quite possibly eaten in the form of bread. In the proximity of the body, and thus possibly originating from the Iceman’s provisions, chaff and grains of einkorn and barley, and seeds of flax and poppy were discovered, as well as kernels of sloes (small plumlike fruits of the blackthorn tree) and various seeds of berries growing in the wild. Hair analysis was used to examine his diet from several months before.

Pollen in the first meal showed that it had been consumed in a mid-altitude conifer forest, and other pollens indicated the presence of wheat and legumes, which may have been domesticated crops. Pollen grains of hop-hornbeam were also discovered. The pollen was very well preserved, with the cells inside remaining intact, indicating that it had been fresh (a few hours old) at the time of Otzi’s death, which places the event in the spring. Einkorn wheat is harvested in the late summer, and sloes in the autumn; these must have been stored from the previous year.

In 2009, a CAT scan revealed that the stomach had shifted upward to where his lower lung area would normally be. Analysis of the contents revealed the partly digested remains of ibex meat, confirmed by DNA analysis, suggesting he had a meal less than two hours before his death. Wheat grains were also found.

Iceman Oetzi’s last meal was ‘Stone Age bacon’ PhysOrg – January 22, 2017
Oetzi the famous “iceman” mummy of the Alps appears to have enjoyed a fine slice or two of Stone Age bacon before he was killed by an arrow some 5,300 years ago. His last meal was most likely dried goat meat, according to scientists who recently managed to dissect the contents of Oetzi’s stomach.

High levels of both copper particles and arsenic were found in Otzi’s hair. This, along with Otzi’s copper axe which is 99.7% pure copper, has led scientists to speculate that Otzi was involved in copper smelting. By examining the proportions of Otzi’s tibia, femur and pelvis, Christopher Ruff has determined that Otzi’s lifestyle included long walks over hilly terrain. This degree of mobility is not characteristic of other Copper Age Europeans. Ruff proposes that this may indicate that Otzi was a high-altitude shepherd.

Otzi had 57 tattoos, some of which were located on or near acupuncture points that coincide with the modern points that would be used to treat symptoms of diseases that Otzi seems to have suffered from, such as digestive parasites and osteoarthrosis. Some scientists believe that these tattoos indicate an early type of acupuncture.

Otzi had several carbon tattoos including groups of short, parallel, vertical lines to both sides of the lumbar spine, a cruciform mark behind the right knee, and various marks around both ankles. Radiological examination of his bones showed “age-conditioned or strain-induced degeneration” in these areas, including osteochondrosis and slight spondylosis in the lumbar spine and wear-and-tear degeneration in the knee and especially the ankle joints. It has been speculated that these tattoos may have been related to pain relief treatments similar to acupressure or acupuncture. If so, this is at least 2000 years before their previously known earliest use in China (c. 1000 BCE).

Otzi iceman’s tattoos came from fireplace MSNBC – July 17, 2009
The 57 tattoos sported by Otzi, the 5300-year-old Tyrolean iceman mummy, were made from fireplace soot that contained glittering, colorful precious stone crystals, according to an upcoming study in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The determination supports prior research that the tattoos were associated with acupuncture treatments for chronic ailments suffered by the iceman, whose frozen body was found remarkably well preserved in the Similaun Glacier of the Alps in 1991. The findings also suggest how prehistoric people were tattooed in the days before commercial inks and electric tattooing machines.

His clothes, including a woven grass cloak

and leather vest and shoes, were quite sophisticated.

Otzi’s shoes were waterproof and wide, seemingly designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for top panels, and a netting made of tree bark. Soft grass went around the foot and in the shoe and functioned like warm socks. The shoes have since been reproduced by experts and found to constitute such excellent footwear that there are plans for commercial production.

Here’s What the Iceman Was Wearing When He Died 5,300 Years Ago National Geographic – August 18, 2016
Clothes worn by Otzi the Iceman 5,300 years ago include (clockwise from top left): hay-stuffed shoes, goat- and sheepskin coat, goatskin leggings, bear fur hat, grass matting and sheepskin loincloth. Since the discovery of Otzi the Iceman in a European glacier in 1991, scientists have recovered a wealth of information from his 5,300-year-old mummified remains: The brown-eyed, gap-toothed, tattooed man most likely spent his 40-odd years farming and herding, and was probably suffering from a painful stomach ache at the time that he died a quick – albeit violent – death in the Oztal Alps.

Items found with the Iceman were a copper axe with a yew handle, a flint-bladed knife with an ash handle and a quiver of 14 arrows with viburnum and dogwood shafts. Two of the arrows, which were broken, were tipped with flint and had fletching (stabilizing fins), while the other 12 were unfinished and untipped. The arrows were found in a quiver with what is presumed to be a bow string, an unidentified tool, and an antler tool which might have been used for sharpening arrow points. There was also an unfinished yew longbow that was 1.82 metres (72 in) long.

In addition, among Otzi’s possessions were berries, two birch bark baskets, and two species of polypore mushrooms with leather strings through them. One of these, the birch fungus, is known to have antibacterial properties, and was probably used for medicinal purposes. The other was a type of tinder fungus, included with part of what appeared to be a complex firestarting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants, in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks.

Otzi’s copper axe was of particular interest. The axe’s haft is 60 centimetres (24 in) long and made from carefully worked yew with a right-angled crook at the shoulder, leading to the blade. The 9.5 centimetres (3.7 in) long axe head is made of almost pure copper, produced by a combination of casting, cold forging, polishing, and sharpening. It was let into the forked end of the crook and fixed there using birch-tar and tight leather lashing. The blade part of the head extends out of the lashing and shows clear signs of having been used to chop and cut. At the time, such an axe would have been a valuable possession, important both as a tool and as a status symbol for the bearer.

Among Otzi’s possessions were two species of polypore mushrooms. One of these (the birch fungus) is known to have antibacterial properties, and was likely used for medical purposes. The other was a type of tinder fungus, included with part of what appeared to be a complex firestarting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants, in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks.

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Ax Linked to Otzi the Iceman Found North of the Alps Live Science – October 6, 2017
Archaeologists found a copper blade in Switzerland that’s just like the ax Otzi the famous “Iceman”was carrying when he died. Like Otzi’s ax, this tool was made with copper that came from hundreds of miles away, in present-day Tuscany in central Italy. The discovery could shed light on Copper Age connections across Europe. Bad fortune eventually made Otzi the Iceman famous. About 5,300 years ago, he was shot with an arrow, struck in the head and left to die near a mountain pass high in the Alps. He was entombed in a glacier until 1991, when hikers near the Italian-Austrian border discovered his body.

DNA analysis revealed traces of blood from four other people on his gear: one from his knife, two from the same arrowhead, and a fourth from his coat. A CAT scan revealed that Otzi had what appeared to be an arrowhead lodged in one shoulder when he died, matching a small tear on his coat. The arrow shaft had been removed, apparently by a companion. He also had bruises and cuts on his hands, wrists, and chest.

From such evidence, and an examination of his weapons, molecular biologist Thomas Loy from the University of Queensland believes that Otzi and one or two companions were hunters who engaged in a skirmish with a rival group. At some point, he may have carried (or been carried by) a companion. Weakened by blood loss, Otzi apparently put down his equipment neatly against a rock, lay down and expired.

Before the latest evidence, it was speculated that, rather than fleeing attackers, he was ritually killed to propitiate a god or gods, or that he was a chieftain and therefore ritually killed to ensure fertility. One of the most fanciful theories was that he was in fact an Egyptian who had been ritually castrated. Later examination, however, revealed that, though shrunken by the mummification, Otzi did in fact possess a penis.

Otzi the Iceman’s Dark Secrets: Protein Investigation Supports Brain Injury Theory Science Daily – June 10, 2013
Using just a pinhead-sized sample of brain tissue from the world-famous glacier corpse, the team was able to extract and analyze proteins to further support the theory that Otzi suffered some form of brain damage in the final moments of his life 5,300 years ago.

In May 2012, scientists announced the discovery that Otzi still had intact blood cells. These are the oldest blood cells ever identified. In most bodies this old, the blood cells are either shrunken or mere remnants, but Otzi’s have the same dimensions as living red blood cells and resembled a modern-day sample.

Otzi the Iceman may have been buried, says team BBC – August 26, 2010
Otzi, the 5,000 year old “Iceman” found in the Italian Alps, may have been ceremonially buried, archaeologists say. An autopsy showed that Otzi had been murdered, dying of an arrow wound. While this is not disputed, a new study suggests that months after his death, OOtzi’s corpse was carried to the high mountain pass where it was found. The discovery site therefore may not be a murder scene after all, but a burial ground.

Influenced by the “Curse of the pharaohs” and the media theme of cursed mummies, claims have been made that Otzi is cursed. The allegation revolves around the deaths of several people connected to the discovery, recovery and subsequent examination of Otzi. It is alleged that they have died under mysterious circumstances. These persons include co-discoverer Helmut Simon, and Konrad Spindler, the first examiner of the mummy in Austria at a local morgue in 1991.

To date, the deaths of seven people, of which four were the result of some violence in the form of accidents, have been attributed to the alleged curse. In reality hundreds of people were involved in the recovery of Otzi and are still involved in studying the body and the artifacts found with it. The fact that a small percentage of them have died over the years has not been shown to be statistically significant.


    1. The “curse” began in 1992 with the death of Dr. Rainer Henn, 64, who was the head of the forensic team who examined the body. He died when his car was in a head-on collision with another vehicle while on his way to give a talk about Otzi.

2. The second “victim” is mountaineer Kurt Fritz, who led Dr. Henn and the others to the iceman’s body and later gave tours to the site. Like other experienced climbers, he died in an avalanche at a mountain region he was familiar with.

3. Austrian journalist Rainer Hoelzl was the third “victim”. He exclusively covered the removal of the body as part of a one-hour documentary that was shown around the world. But he developed a mystery illness – thought to be a brain tumor – that claimed his life in extreme pain a few months after the programme was shown.

4. The fourth “victim” is the German tourist Helmut Simon, who found the body. The hiker returned to the region to celebrate winning a �50,000 court battle over rights to the mummy. He set out in fine weather but a blizzard set in and he fell approximately 100 meters into a deep ravine, some 200 kilometers from the place where Otzi perished. He had not signed the court papers so his widow did not get the �50,000.

5. Dieter Warnecke was the head of the mountain rescue team that searched for Helmut Simon. He died at age 45 of a heart attack less than an hour after Helmut Simon was buried.

6. The 6th victim was archaeologist Konrad Spindler – the leading expert on the 5,300-year-old corpse. The Austrian expert had dismissed the link between the five previous deaths. He declared: “I think it’s a load of rubbish. It is all a media hype. The next thing you will be saying I will be next.” He died in April 2005 at age 66 of ALS, a pre-existing chronic condition.

7. In October 2005 the “curse” claimed its seventh “victim” – the 63-year old Dr Tom Loy died prior to finishing a book on Otzi. He was the seventh person to die who had been in close contact with the mummy.

Death renews iceman ‘curse’ claim BBC – November 5, 2005
The death of a molecular biologist has fueled renewed speculation about a “curse” connected to an ancient corpse. Tom Loy, 63, had analyzed DNA found on “Otzi”, the Stone Age hunter whose remains were discovered in 1991. Dr Loy died in unclear circumstances in Australia two weeks ago, it has been announced, making him the seventh person connected with Otzi to die. Colleagues and family of Dr Loy have rejected the notion that he was the victim of a “curse”. It is not known how many people have worked on the Otzi project – and whether the death rate is statistically high.

Though he lived 5,000 years ago, Otzi the Iceman was not a strict adherent to the Paleo diet

Scientists sample the contents of Otzi the Iceman’s stomach in 2010 in Bolzano, Italy. A new study reports that Otzi’s last meal was likely an ibex, and it was high in fat.

If you were thinking that the ancient Alpine traveler known as Otzi — and often known simply as Iceman — scraped by on a diet of foraged grasses and berries, you’d be very wrong.

A comprehensive new study of his stomach contents reveals that Otzi, who perished roughly 5,300 years ago on a mountain in the Eastern Alps of Italy, died with a belly full of fatty meat, some whole seeds from the einkorn wheat plant, and maybe a bit of goat’s milk or cheese — all eaten just a couple of hours before he died.

Judging from the remnants of plant spores found in his gut, the Iceman may have set off from home with a mobile meal of smoked or dried meat wrapped in the large, coarse leaves of a bracken fern.

It was not a bad picnic for a peripatetic member of a primitive society of hunter-gatherer-farmers. There were traces of herbs, perhaps used to flavor the meat or a bread made from grains we would now call “ancient.” The meat came from an ibex — a wild goat species also known as the steinbock — and red deer, both plentiful in the area.

So much for some researchers’ conviction, based of an early analysis of his hair, that Otzi was a vegetarian.

Close to half of what remained in his stomach was fat from the meats he consumed. That fat would have given his last meal the luxurious mouthfeel of bacon.

The muscle-and-heart meat would have delivered the satiating properties of protein. It was fuel well-suited to the rigors of stalking, hunting and possibly shepherding animals in the cold, high Alps.

In time, this fatty, carnivorous diet would probably have clogged Otzi’s arteries, and evidence that this process was already underway has come from earlier research. But since Iceman was unlikely to survive into anything resembling modern-day old age, that would probably not have been the death of him. (He is estimated to have been roughly 45 when he died and had probably outlived most of his contemporaries.)

As food-packaging goes, bracken fern is a more questionable choice: It can cause bleeding and anemia when ingested.

But what killed Otzi in the end appears to have been an arrow to the back. And what happened at some point following his death — either a deliberate burial or a final accidental fall into a glacial ravine — caused his remains to be frozen and mummified until their discovery by hikers in 1991.

Dr. Gregory S. Thomas, a cardiologist with MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute in Long Beach who has studied ancient specimens to discern the roots of heart disease, calls Otzi “the best preserved ancient mummy ever discovered.” The new findings, reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology, will inspire scientists “to look into the last meals of mummies from other ancient cultures,” he said.

Thomas, who was not involved in the research, added that the study will help answer age-old questions of universal interest: What is an ideal diet, and how does what we eat influence our health, energy, and ability to survive in the spaces and times we inhabit?

Preserved in ice for millenniums and thawed out only for the occasional well-planned study, Otzi has given the modern world its best-ever chance to explore the everyday realities of life during the Chalcolithic era. Stretching from roughly 3500 to 2300 BE, that tumultuous period marked Southern Europe’s transition from primitive farming with stone tools to civilizations that forged metals, expanded trade and ushered in complex modern societies.

Iceman’s mummified remains have been intensively studied, and earlier surveys had already yielded some clues about his diet. But those analyses had focused on the contents of Iceman’s lower intestines, the largely digested remains of food eaten at least eight hours earlier, including deer meat, grains and fruit.

Those studies also showed that Iceman was infected with an intestinal parasite called whipworm, and that he was lactose intolerant. And they helped trace a turning point in humankind’s dental health: the introduction of grain-derived carbohydrates, which probably had deposited cavity-causing sugars on Iceman’s teeth.

The new analysis was made possible by the discovery of Iceman’s stomach, which had inexplicably migrated upward during the mummification process.

Samples taken from Otzi’s stomach (left) and gastrointestinal tract (center and right) were rehydrated in phosphate buffer to be analyzed.

Researchers from the Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy, where Iceman’s remains are stored, spotted the elusive stomach when they were reviewing CT scans in 2009. That prompted an intensive analysis of its contents. The team, led by Frank Maixner and Albert Zink, employed methods ranging from microscopic observation to genomic analysis.

Otzi’s final meal, the authors concluded, was “a well-balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats perfectly adjusted to the energetic requirements of his high altitude trekking.”

The tools brought to bear in the new study gave Maixner and Zink the ability “to examine the DNA, protein, carbohydrate and fat down to the atomic level,” Thomas said. “In the past, we could peer into a microscope and look at the meat of an ancient meal. But we could not examine the DNA, for example, to determine which animal it was, and which part of the animal.”

The findings touched off a new round of excited chatter among those who study ancient human cultures to discern the origins of heart disease.

“He would need the fat as an energy source, and I am sure he would have burned it off,” said Dr. Anthony Heagerty, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Manchester in England. Analyses of Otzi’s bones suggest that his lifestyle was far from sedentary and included long walks over hilly terrain.

“It is interesting that scans of the Iceman have shown major calcification in arteries and the aorta indicating an advanced state of atherosclerotic disease,” Heagerty said. In the end, he died violently, but “he too was in danger of heart attack,” Heagerty speculated.

Thomas is not so sure.

The meats found in Iceman’s belly — the heart and muscle meat of ibex and red deer — “were both wild and lean,” he said. And recent studies, including research on the cardiovascular health of the Tsimane people of lowland Bolivia, suggest that when it comes to heart disease, it may be the fat content of meat, more than the quantity consumed, that matters.

While the farmer-forager Tsimane eat about the same percentage of protein as in the typical American diet, the fat content of the meats they eat is about half of that found in farm-fed animals in the United States, Thomas said.

Finally, even at the then-advanced age of roughly 45, Otzi appeared to be “a lifetime athlete” for whom 10,000 steps a day “would likely be almost a warm-up,” he said.

“A subsistence hunter, his chief task would be finding food for himself, and if he had a family, for them as well,” Thomas noted. His daily exertions “would also be protective for his heart and overall health.”

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