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DATING AMBER – Karl C. Priest

If the “Amber” in the title of this article referred to a woman, she would fit perfectly into the romantic fiction of evolutionists.  Evolutionists can’t live with her and they can’t live without her.  That is the predicament in which evolutionists find themselves when it comes to insects in amber.  It’s as if evolutionists were serenading amber under her window and she poured some gooey glue on their heads. Figuratively speaking, evolutionists are caught in a sticky mess from which they cannot get free.

As I read various articles about amber I found myself frequently writing “flood” in the margins because what I was reading easily fitted into a catastrophic flood scenario.  One author stated it takes lightning (or a fire) to cause trees to produce the resin that (under water pressure) becomes amber.


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People have been collecting amber for all of recorded history. Some experts consider amber (along with ivory) to be one of the earliest highly valued by mankind.  Today, amber is still a prized and valuable gemstone.

Amber is not tree sap, it’s fossilized resin created when a tree becomes injured.  It is released from trees as a sticky liquid that polymerizes into a solid substance called amber.

The process by which amber changes into resin is complicated and not completely understood, but there are some basic facts.  The fresh resin would degrade unless it was quickly buried in dense soil sediment.  Amber was formed when the resin was washed by water rich in oxygen and alkaline sodium compounds. Heat and temperature may play a major role in transforming the resin into amber.   Amber cannot be made in the lab.

Once, there were huge sub-tropical forests over much of the earth.  University of California Plant ecologist, Jean Langenheim, disproved the assumption that amber resin came from pine trees.  She proved the resin came from a flowering member of the legume family. The ancient plant (in Mexico) was closely related to a living plant which grows in forests from Mexico to South America (including the Caribbean).  Langenheim thinks the original plant came from Africa via seedpods on ocean currents.

Amber pieces were transported, by water, from where they originated and deposited somewhere else.

There are about two dozen amber deposits found throughout the world.  The main sites are the Baltic area (once commonly found along shore lines) of northern Europe and the rugged hills of the Dominican Republic.

For many years amber from the Baltic area was best known.  Since the 1960’s Dominican amber has been the most studied.  It contains many more, and better, inclusions.  Inclusions are the plants and animals preserved in the amber.  There are ten times more insects in Dominican amber than Baltic amber and insects in Dominican amber retain color and details of internal anatomy.

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Dr. George Poinar (“the world’s leading amber expert”) and his wife, Roberta, describe the formation of Dominican amber being during a time when the “beds of limestone and shale containing the amber were uplifted. Thus the fossilized resin was subjected to tremendous shear forces.”  Sounds like a cataclysm (perhaps a huge flood) to me.

Although he would not likely admit it, another prominent amber expert agrees with me.  Dr. David Grimaldi, a paleoentomologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, thinks “that some catastrophe, probably a tropical storm, destroyed the forest (causing) massive amounts of resin to bleed.”

Before we learn more about why evolutionists love amber, let’s discuss copal.

Copal is considered a transition between resin and amber.  Evolutionists date amber in the millions of years and copal in the thousands.

Copal is often portrayed and sold as amber. One way to tell the difference is that a drop of alcohol on copal makes it tacky.

Both have a range of colors (blue is rare), ranging from yellow to red.

But, it is amber that causes the evolutionist heart to flutter and eyes to twinkle.  See #10 in the addendum.


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Amber is classified as a fossil because it contains traces of once living plants and animals.

The remains of insects are often found in amber.  Frequently they appear to have been placed in the amber only yesterday and can sometimes be identified to genus and species of living insects.  As it oozed from a tree, amber trapped the insects then, acting as a natural embalming agent, kept them in three-dimensional form.

The Poinars (authors of The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World) have spent most of their careers studying amber inclusions and have used them to re-create the biological ecosystems that were in place in what they claim to be millions of years ago.

The Poinars list five reasons for why amber is so valuable in reconstructing what ancient life was like.  (1) The fossils are three-diminsional.  (2) Original colors are often preserved.  (3) The fossils are outstandingly preserved.  (4) Many are frozen in lifelike circumstances.  (5)    Accompanying organisms are often included.  Therefore the amber specimens offer a picture of the world long ago (thousands of years, at the most, from a creationist perspective).

Dr. Grimaldi’s team discovered that one extinct Dominican Republic termite is relatively unchanged from its living Australian descendant.  “There were only eight base-pair changes over 30 million years, which means that this insect is highly conservative.”  Another way of saying it is, “The insect did not evolve.” Creationists would predict that there would be a few changes due to mutations over the years.

A purported 100 million year old beetle shows they had chemical weapons long before evolutionists imagined.  Dr. Poinar said, “That this type of defense has been preserved through 100 million years of evolution is evidence that it works pretty well.”   Or, it could be evidence the beetle was originally well designed.

Poinar, in 2008, used amberized insects to promote an explanation of why it took dinosaurs so long to die off.  He believes that, along with catastrophic events, insects destroyed the dinosaurs.  He bases his belief upon finding a disease bearing pathogen in the gut of an insect which was preserved in amber (as he believes) millions of years ago.

A fly (claimed to be 38 million years old) was fraudulently placed into cut Baltic amber and kept by the Natural History Museum in London for 70 years.

That is another example of evolutionists getting jilted by what they thought as true love.  The real inclusions, though, are much more interesting.


From a first century Roman poet:

An ant beneath a poplar found,
An amber tear has covered round;
So she that was in life despised,
In death preserved, is highly prized.

Ants are the most commonly preserved amber creature.

Sadly, the world’s most renowned ant authority, Dr. Edward O. Wilson, has used his study of ants to promote evolutionism and a philosophical theory of the evolution of ethics call “Sociobiology”.  Wilson rejected his Christian upbringing when he learned of evolution.  When confronted with an opportunity to show how much real science undergirds evolutionism, Dr. Wilson hid like a queen ant and now is Debate Dodger Proverbs 6:6 simply did not sink into Dr. Wilson’s heart.  He is certainly educated, but he did not go to the ant and consider her ways to be wise.

In 1967, a couple of amberized ants were sent to Dr. Wilson.  The ant had been found by amateurs and not examined by experts on site.  In an anti-creation publication intended for public school teachers (“Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science” (National Academy of Science, 1998).  Wilson described how elated he was when the specimens came in.  In his book Journey to the Ants Wilson described an adrenalin surge as he ran down the stairs to see the ants.  These ants became known as “wasp-ants” (Sphecomyma freyi) and proclaimed, by Wilson to be the missing link between wasps and ants.  For what it’s worth, the esteemed evolutionist, Dr. William B. Provine of Cornell University, reviewed the (National Academy of Science) booklet and said “Wilson’s comments are misleading at best.”

The specimens (supposedly from the Cretaceous period and 90-100 million years old) had some wasp like characteristics, but mainly appeared to be a worker ant.  In 1998 more discoveries revealed they were just that—an ant.

In 2008, evolutionists got all excited over a “Living Fossil” ant fount in the Amazon jungle.  “Living Fossils” are the evolutionists’ way of dodging the reality that a creature has not changed since however many millions of years evolutionists imagine it has existed.  Another evolutionist hallucination is shattered by facts.  “Scientists have long believed that the first ants were wasp-like surface dwellers, but recent findings suggest that ants evolved underground, coming to the surface 125 million years ago…” (

Ants carrying pupae (just like modern ants) are in amber dated by evolutionists at around 23 million years old.  Other ants (dated at 30 million years) are found with aphids.  Modern ants still tend aphids for the honey dew the aphids produce.  Even if the dates imagined by evolutionists were correct it would show that ant behavior has not changed for millions of years. Bore accurately, ants have not involved.

In 2000, Grimaldi and Dr. Donat Agosti found an ant in amber which they dated at 90 million years old.

Something that ruins this picnic evolutionists had planned with amber is that 150 million year old (by evolutionist dating) fossil ant nests have been found.


In 1998, Grimaldi reported that a “stingless bee’s advanced features show that bees have changed little in the last 80 million years”

A 2004 report revealed that honeybees (supposedly back to the 65 to 144 million year Cretaceous period) were, “Almost identical to their modern relatives.”    The 2004 bees also caused some concern for the evolutionist belief in the “65 million year old” asteroid impact that cooled the earth and caused the dinosaurs to go extinct.

A non-honeybee was found in 2006 and the amber was dated at 100 million years old.  Many headlines claimed the find supported the transition from wasp to bees.  The young earth creationist organization, Answers in Genesis, commented that bees and wasps could have come from “one original created kind”.

It should be noted that the bee was purchased from an amber dealer.   Basically it had some leg features similar to wasps. Rather than being a “missing link”, the fossil simply shows a new type of bee.  New types of live insects are discovered daily.

Paleontologist Stephen Hasiotis found “a fossilized bees’ nest 120 million years older than the oldest bee fossil.”  He says these nests (along with those of ants and termites) show social insect” behavior was almost identical to what it is now.”  At the risk of beating a dead bug:  No evolution!


The insect inclusions, just of themselves, are wonderful, but the insects have amazing inclusins within themselves.

Bacteria, from insect abdomens, were revived in 1995.  Some argued that it was modern contamination.  The researcher responded that he has taken ample precautions to prevent contamination.

Amber really gets amazing when DNA is considered.

In 1982, Poinar and his wife, (an electron microscopist) found DNA in an amberized fly.

In September of 1992, Grimaldi’s research team obtained “viable 30-million-year-old DNA” from an amberized termite.

About the same time Poinar’s team got “astonishingly ancient” DNA, from six stingless bees found in amber.  Poinar thought the amber might be about 40 million years old.  Later on that year Poinar announced the extraction of DNA from a weevil found in believed to be 135 million years old..

How DNA survives for millions of years (even in “ideal” circumstances) is a problem for evolutionists. They believe the DNA-containing tissue has survived for so long because the sugars and alcohols in the resin prohibit microbial growth. And the preservation happens quickly.  Amber prevents growth of microbes and dries out the creatures to sort of mummify them.

One scientist said, “After 25 million years there shouldn’t be any DNA at all”.   Scientists who believe in millions of years just gloss over the scientific facts by claiming that since they have gotten DNA is merely “dramatic evidence of DNA’s durability” and “this may explain why insects have changed so little during the past 150 million years.”  That sounds like something I read in Alice in Wonder Land about believing impossible things each day.

The publicity about obtaining DNA from insects found in amber was integral in the plot of the movie Jurassic Park.

In reality, scientists have only extracted a tiny amount of DNA then those fragments were amplified by a molecular copying process using a process known as polymerse chain reaction (PCR).  There are tremendous obstacles blocking making a dinosaur from dinosaur blood found in an amberized mosquito. The San Diego Natural History Museum explains this more thoroughly at


In the previously mentioned book, the Poinar’s state that “Some questions remain regarding the age of the amber…Dating has been attempted by chemical analysis of the amber as well as by an examination of marine microfossils that occur in the bedrock.”  Then, in the same paragraph, they state the times as 15-20 million years or 30-45 million years based upon the fossils.  They admit that the mountain ranges holding most of the Domican amber were formed 10 to 25 thousand years ago.

I emailed Dr. Poinar with these questions:  “Please tell me how one determines how old a piece of amber is?  How does one piece of amber differ from another regarding factors that signify the age of amber?”  His answer:  “The age is determined by index fossils that are in the same strata as the amber and also by the types of fossils discovered.”

Then I contacted four other experts with these questions:  “How is the age of amber determined?  Is it through chemical, radioactive, fossil contents, or strata?”  Their answers:  (1) There is no one right way and just like most mysteries, it is a combination of methods that help to arrive at the answer.  (2) Not sure, probably by all the various methods you indicate but I suspect mainly by the strata.  (3) Bit of all 4. (4) It’s very educated guessing.

Butterflies, almost identical to living butterflies, were dated at about 25 million years.  But, evidence from plate tectonics puts them at a time of 40-50 million years.  Scientists are compelled to consider that no evolution occurred for tens of millions of years.  “It’s no different than if you took a modern day butterfly and put it under a light microscope”, said one scientist.

The Institute for Creation Research states that creationists have been requesting that the amber inclusions be submitted for Carbon 14 dating.  That is one date I’d like to see amber have.


In 2008, scientists were surprised to find amber containing marine life.  It was a “completely unexpected discovery,” “The forest-based provenance of amber in theory makes it impossible for marine animals to be trapped in the resin. The presence of these marine organisms in the amber is an ecological paradox.” (Homework assignment: Look up the meaning of paradox and explain why evolutionists might be, without admitting it, a little worried about this discovery even though they claim it will “deepen” their understanding of early life.)

Evolutionists say the “most likely scenario” is that the amber came from a forest close to the coast which was “shrouded by plankton bearing mist or flooded by sea water during storms.” How about a storm that hit in Noah’s day?

So, evolutionists have all kinds of problems with amber.

If evolutionists think they are going to call amber for a “hot” date—then evolutionists continue to hallucinate.  It’s time for evolutionist to realize that “amber” is going steady with creationists because creationists really understand amber.


Some articles on this subject.

1. Extreme Preservation Gives Fly’s Eye View…

From the article:  “’The most important aspect of this paper is the description of a fossilized visual system with unprecedented detail, down to the cellular level’…”

2. Scientist Says He Has Found Oldest Spider Web

Oxford University paleobiologist Martin Brasier said the 140-million-year-old webbing provides evidence that arachnids had been ensnaring their prey in silky nets since the dinosaur age… ‘You can match the details of the spider’s web with the spider’s web in my garden,’ Brasier said.”

In 2006, an amberized web was found and declared to be 110 million years old. This find included insects trapped in the strands. A National Geographic article quoted Dr. David Grimaldi saying, “”The striking thing is that the geometry of the web and the prey type and size in it are like what one would see today.” The article concluded that spiders have been snagging flying insects in complex webs since the age of dinosaurs. Some scientists in Science expressed their belief that spider webs affected the evolution of insect flight.

Arachnids and their webs are amazing and scientists are yet to match their feats.  That is a subject for another creationist to expound upon.

There are some obvious points that a real skeptic (as opposed to true believer in evolutionism) can easily see in these arachnid reports.  Why assume, against all credulity, that the webs and their creatures are millions of years old.  It is only because of the place in rock layers where they were found?

3. Discovery in amber reveals ancient biology of termites

George Poinar points out that the mutualism of termites and their intestinal protozoa has always been there.  Of course, he tries to say the amber entombed termite he found was 100 million years old.

4. “Invisible” Ancient Bugs Seen by Hi-Tech X-Ray…

Now, thanks to “high-energy x-rays” through the new “accelerator technology” scientists can see insects that were “invisible” in “65 million year old” opaque amber.  Guess what, they look just like the insects we have today.

5. A review of Retracing the Long Journey of the Insects is amusing.…

George Poinar admits that evolutionists are more philosophical than scientific about the origin and evolution of insects.  Regarding insects in amber, Poinar states, “What is the earliest known bee? Everyone knows the important role bees play in pollinating plants. The origin and subsequent adaptive radiation of bees was extremely significant, possibly crucial, for angiosperm diversification in the Early Cretaceous (roughly from 145 million to 98 million years ago). In 1988, Charles D. Michener and Grimaldi described in American Museum Novitates what they claimed was the first Cretaceous bee, found in New Jersey amber that is 96 million to 74 million years old, characterizing it as Trigona prisca. However, doubts about the age of the bee were raised first in 1991 by Rasnitsyn and Michener in Annals of the Entomological Society of America, again in 1994 by Vladimir G. Radchenko and Yuriy A. Pesenko in their book Biology of Bees and finally by Zherikhin in History of Insects. In addition, Michener discusses the “cloud” surrounding the fossil, in The Bees of the World (2000). The age became suspect when the bee turned out to belong to a modern species group, something that is almost unheard of for a fossil 96 million to 74 million years old. Also in 2000, in American Museum Novitates, Engel redescribed the bee, placed it in a new genus (Cretotrigona) and agreed that it belonged to a relatively modern group, indicating that the diversification of bees had occurred much earlier than had previously been believed. Curiously, he lowered the age down to 65 million years, which according to the latest authority—A Geologic Time Scale 2004, edited by Felix M. Gradstein, James G. Ogg and Alan G. Smith—would place it in the Tertiary period.” and “Grimaldi and Engel present a partial fly specimen in mid-Cretaceous amber (about 100 million years old) from Burma and state that it is the oldest mosquito. However, this specimen has a short proboscis and lacks scales on the wing veins, which by today’s definition would exclude it from any known group of mosquitoes. It is curious that Grimaldi and Engel not only neglect to cite Grimaldi’s 2004 publication officially describing this fossil (with Art Borkent as first author) in Annals of the Entomological Society of America but also ignore the article inActa Geologica Hispanica that I wrote in 2000 with Tom J. Zavortink, Ted Pike and Paul A. Johnston about the only uncontested Cretaceous mosquito. The latter oversight is surprising, because Grimaldi and Engel mention the fossil—Paleoculicis minutus—in their book. In History of Insects, Zherikhin refers to Paleoculicis minutus as ‘the oldest fossil mosquito’.”

6. Grimaldi and Engel fired back in what appears to be a “you, not us, are the dumb one” rebuttal to Poinar’s review.  Of course, all three of these scientists are brilliant, but they view the facts through opaque philosophical glasses.  Grimaldi and Engel denied Poinar’s charge that they did not “discuss the controversy surrounding the age, interpretation and identification of fossils that were initially announced with much fanfare and bravado.”  They said that Poinar is confused about which fossil is which in one case and mistaken about the fossil bee by pointing out that “the molecular composition of Tertiary fossil sap from the New Jersey Coastal Plain is unique and unmistakable. Unlike fossilized hydrocarbon polymers (a.k.a. amber), the Tertiary material from New Jersey is actually (and incredibly) composed of polymerized styrenes, and any competent amber specialist can tell the difference by just looking at samples”.

Regarding the disputed mosquito Grimaldi and Engel said, “At one time birds had teeth, horses had toes, snakes had limbs, and mosquitoes had shorter proboscides. This basic concept of stem groups was impressed upon Poinar earlier with respect to Cretaceous ants (Grimaldi and Agosti, 2000: Can. Ent. 132: 691-693), but apparently to no avail.”

Then they took off the gloves and pounded Poinar with “the errors, misstatements and untruths in his critique are so consistent and often profound that one must ask if they are actually deliberate”.

Poinar retaliated by stating that Grimaldi and Engel made “opinionated statements (that) are counterproductive in science and indicate a lack of knowledge of the literature” and insinuated that they had not read a “classic work on fossil terrestrial arthropods”.  Then he accused his two fellow scientists of “inconsistencies” in labeling a mosquito protusion “maxillary stylet” (Grimaldi, Engel and Nascimbene, 2002), then a “labrum” (Borkent and Grimaldi, 2004), and later as a mandible (Grimaldi and Engel, 2005) “even though in the 2004 official description, it is clearly stated ‘Mandible not visible.’”

The whole exchange provides for great amusement and indisputable proof that evolutionists are certainly not experts on evolution.

Poinar correctly states that “Criticism and debate provide the basis for scientific progress by furnishing alternative interpretations of discoveries and hypotheses.  The ultimate goal should be seeking the truth…”  However, none of the three “amber experts” is likely to advocate scientific criticism of evolutionism itself.…

7. It is funny how evolutionists try to spin the facts they find which point toward the non-existence of insect-to-intellectual evolution.   In early 2010 National Geographic News provided the “First African Amber Photos.”  Most of the specimens are “perfectly preserved…time capsule(s)”– “most of which are familiar to us today, and look quite similar.”  The photos display exquisitely complicated creatures and all of them are like what we would find living today.  The report states that “The organisms date back to an evolutionary period when the types of insects that are common today first started appearing.”  What malarkey!  There is still no evidence of any simpler forms leading to the ones pictured.

In October 2010, amber deposits were found in India and evolutionists proclaimed them to have “opened a spectacular window into insect life some 50 million years ago. At that time, what’s now the Asian subcontinent had just crashed into mainland Asia — about 100 million years after breaking off the coast of east Africa. During its long isolated float, life on that giant island had time to evolve into strange new forms. That’s what’s (sic) researchers expected, anyway, but not what they found in the amber… Instead, the insects resemble what’s seen in amber deposits from continental landmasses of the time… In the years to come, scientists will compare these ancient specimens to modern forms and develop a deeper understanding of how these creatures have evolved.” ( It is foolish to think that by waiting a few years the specimens will help the hallucination of evolutionism.

8. Amazing Insects Defy Evolution Oct 26, 2010 — Two recent articles about insects call for the ring buoy on the H.M.S. Darwin.  The first is about fossil amber from India, reported by the BBC News.  “We have complete, three-dimensionally preserved specimens that are 52 million years old,” one of the discoverers announced with astonishment, “and you can handle them almost like living ones.”  The insects are so perfectly preserved they look like they could crawl out if released from their gooey prison.

Several things about the discovery challenge conventional evolutionary wisdom.  One is that they contradict the theory of endemism, the notion that organisms living in isolation will tend to become more unique.  The insects found resemble those from other parts of the world.  Gondwana and Laurasia were supposed to have drifted apart slowly for 100 million years, but here in the Indian amber, the diversity of insects resembles specimens from Asia, Africa, and even South America.  “This means that, despite millions of years in isolation in the ocean, the region was a lot more biologically diverse that previously believed.”  To rescue the theory, the team envisioned insects flying long distances or drifting on ocean currents.

Another challenge from these fossils is that rain forests were not supposed to exist in this region 50 million years ago.  Finding evidence of a tropical environment twice as old as previously thought, the team had to say that they hadn’t found such environments before because “fossil deposits are simply very uncommon in tropical regions.”  A photo with the article shows where the amber samples were found in lignite mines in western India.

New Scientist also reported the story: Magazine issue 2784, October 25, 2010.

Source: Creation Safaris

9. Dr. George Poinar keeps pounding home (though not on purpose) the point that there is no proof of evolution.  In June 2011, he described (new subfamily, genus and species) an amber encased specimen (from 97-110 mya using the evo-whacko dating method) as an extinct mayfly.  He called the genus “Vetuformosa, which in Latin means old and beautifully formed”.  ( That is a fine name.  The specimen is likely a few thousand years old and, like all insects, is beautifully formed.  I predict that evolutionists will claim the mayfly’s long antennae and ovipositor will be proof of evolution because no matter what, they won’t believe their lying eyes.

In February 2012, Dr. Poinar touted his discovery of a bat fly in amber.  “Although the newfound genus is extinct, bat flies still exist today.” (  The article has of the best evolutionists twists of logic ever published.  It claims some of the flies (which only feed on bat blood) “have even become specialized to live on specific bat species” and have “interesting bat-specific modifications.”   Even if the first claim is true, it does nothing to diminish the fact that the original fly was created with the genetic design to become what it is.  It could be an example of devolution.  The “modifications” are simply design features.

Chinese scientists found a flea-like insect in amber (publicized in May 2012:  Dr. Poinar called them “pseudo-fleas” and said they probably carried diseases “could have hastened the demise of dinosaurs”. They were larger and had longer legs than the fleas we are familiar with.  Evolutionists believe that fleas evolved with mammals, but this shows they were here all along.

10. Evolutionists enthusiasts were elated at the 2012 find that Science Daily headlined “Oldest Occurrence of Arthropods Preserved in Amber: Fly, Mite Specimens Are 100 Million Years Older than Previous Amber Inclusions”.  The “BWAH HAH HAH” part is that the mites (not insects) “are are surprisingly similar to ones seen today.”  Ant these specimens “pave the way for a better evolutionary understanding.”  That is definite derangement.  The fly was not preserved well enough to cause comment, but I predict when one is found in this deposit it will be “surprisingly similar”!

This article provides information about amber which I place it as direct quotes to supplement my above summaries.  I include the imagined mya dates of deluded Darwinists.  “Amber is an extremely valuable tool for paleontologists because it preserves specimens with microscopic fidelity… Globules of fossilized resin are typically called amber. Amber ranges in age from the Carboniferous (about 340 million years ago) to about 40,000 years ago, and has been produced by myriad plants, from tree ferns to flowering trees, but predominantly by conifers.”

Karl Priest

Written by Karl Priest

Karl Priest has over 35 years of experience as an educator mostly as a mathematics teacher. He has worked with students from grades K through 9 including four years as a principal. He is a strong supporter of home and Christian schools. You can see his ministry at

While in the Navy Karl accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in November of 1968. God led Karl into several different areas of ministry one of which is using his insect collection to proclaim Christ as the creator. You can see Karl’s testimony on the Internet at

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