Shark teeth also differ with regards to position within the jaw. The skull of the shark is also made of cartilage as is its rostrum (its snout or beak). [11] A single tooth row includes one or more functional teeth at the front of the jaw, and multiple replacement teeth behind this. This shark lived during the late Oligocene epoch and Neogene period, about 28 to 1.5 million years ago, and ranged to a maximum length of 60 ft.[5] The smallest teeth are only 1.2 cm (0.5 in) in height, while the largest teeth are in excess of 17.7 cm (7.0 in). Dense flattened teeth are used to crush prey like bivalves and crustaceans. [15] In order to reduce effects of deterioration in the teeth, it is useful to sample only the surface of the enameloid of the tooth for this specific research. These teeth are typically worn, because they were frequently moved and redeposited in different areas repeatedly before settling down. Sharks do not have bones; instead, they have cartilage that makes up their skeleton. Fossil shark teeth can take on different colors as they fossilize based on the amount of iron, manganese and other elements in the surrounding soil. In Florida, many of these sediments have not been around long enough to compress into rock yet, and are still unconsolidated. Fossil teeth are permineralized and are usually darker colored. The main exceptions are teeth and dermal ossicles, which are usually enameloid, and vertebral centra, which do calcify. Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida Gallery. In the case of shark’s teeth, they are preserved through a process known as permineralization. Nowadays, there are so many products of are shark teeth bones in the market and you are wondering to choose a best one.You have searched for are shark teeth bones in many merchants, compared about products prices & reviews before deciding to buy them. Sharks can have parasymphyseal teeth (which are found where the left and right portions of the jaw meet and are typically small), anterior (which are usually the largest teeth in the jaws and sit close to the midline), symphyseal/intermediate (which sit between the anterior and lateral teeth and tend to be smaller), and lateral teeth (which get smaller with size towards the outer edges of the jaws), all of which may vary in shape, size, and curvature based on their position. There are a number of common types of shark teeth, that vary according to the diet of the shark. Shark teeth are made of a solid substance called dentin. The main exceptions are teeth and dermal ossicles, which are usually enameloid, and vertebral centra, which do calcify. Archived. [8][9], Fossilized shark teeth can often be found in or near river bed banks, sand pits, and beaches. Lower/Upper – teeth from the lower jaw and upper jaw, Parasymphyseal – which are found where the left and right portions of the jaw meet and are typically small, Symphyseal/Intermediate – which sit between the anterior and lateral teeth and tend to be smaller, are in the center of both the upper and lower jaws, Anterior – which are usually the largest teeth in the jaws and sit close to the midline, Lateral – which get smaller with size towards the outer edges of the jaws, Posterior/Distal – toward the end of the jaw, Basal margin – area where the root and crown meet Modern sharks began to appear about 100 million years ago. Shark’s teeth are replaced continuously and they can shed thousands of teeth during a lifetime so both shark tooth seekers and shark tooth fairies stay pretty busy. To find fossil shark teeth today, you must find exposed sediments or sedimentary rocks that are marine-derived. Our smiles though, are a lot friendlier than theirs. A commonly referred to transition is the evolution of Isurus hastalis, the Extinct Giant Mako, into the Great White shark, Carcharodon carcharias. The sharks were probably drawn into these areas looking for food and cover. The age of a shark can also play a factor in its tooth morphology. Once you’ve stockpiled your finds it’s time to don your Sherlock’s tweed cap and conduct some shark tooth sleuthing to identify distinctions that will help you determine the species. Another method for determining if a shark tooth is modern or fossil is by simply asking “Where was the tooth found?” If the tooth was found in a creek 50 miles from the nearest ocean, it is safe to assume that the tooth is a fossil. What I find interesting is what looks like a nice shark tooth slice out of the bone further up. 1 inch (2.5 cm) long; Bull shark teeth: narrow apex, tapering serration, size is 1 inch or smaller (2.5 cm) Hammerhead shark teeth: deep nutrient groove, smooth cutting edge, 0.3-0.8 inch (0.7-2 cm) If you find shark tooth that is bigger than 4 inch, it is most probably a Megalodon tooth! There exist teeth that are believed to represent the transition between the two species. [8] Phosphate pits, containing mostly fossil bones and teeth, or kaolin pits, are ideal places to look for fossil shark teeth. Probably the only way to know for sure would be to pull it straight up and see if anything comes out (or use an x-ray). When you find a shark tooth at the beach, you may need to look at its color to figure out its age. F, Lateral – viewed from the side, when referring to the position of a tooth, this term is used to indicate mesial and/or distal, Lateral cusplets – a small, enameloid covered projection lateral to the basal margin of the crown, Lingual – the inner surface of the tooth toward the tongue, Lobe – the mesial or distal portion of the root created by the nutrient groove, Mesial – the edge of a tooth towards the front/anterior of the mouth This proves complicated, however, due to the fact that most fossilized teeth are found mixed and scattered. recurved – arched lingually, Cusplet – a small, enameloid covered projection lateral to the basal margin of the crown, Cutting edges – a sharp, thin, enameloid ridge But teeth aren’t actually bone. They hunt large mammals such as dolphins and seals. These kinds of teeth can crush a crab or other shelled animal with one bite. - Dharma Beach Bum", "Treasures of Hawai'i : Shark Tooth Weapon", A weapon of tiger-shark teeth on carved koa wood, www.shark-references.com: Database of bibliography of living/fossil sharks and rays (Chondrichtyes: Selachii) with more than 15.000 listed papers and a lot of downloadlinks, Real Great White Shark Teeth for Sale Online in USA, Tradeoffs for locomotion in air and water, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shark_tooth&oldid=992710956, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 December 2020, at 18:30. In order for these teeth to fossilize, they must sink the seafloor and be quickly covered by sediment. [8] Only after about 10,000 years will a shark tooth fossilize. Fossil mackerel shark teeth date to the Early Cretaceous.One of the most recently evolved families is the hammerhead shark (family Sphyrnidae), which emerged in the Eocene. This water carries different minerals in it that are deposited into open pore spaces in the teeth. Teeth are the most common part of the shark that is fossilized, but it is not uncommon to also find individual vertebral centra in the same sediments. Any fossils, including fossil shark teeth, are preserved in sedimentary rocks after falling from their mouth. Multicusped – more than one cusp, Notch – a groove situated on the top of the root The type of tooth that a shark has depends on its diet and feeding habits. While shark teeth are subtly unique to each other, the teeth that you might find will most likely be black, or another similar dark color. These sharks are able to cut through the thick flesh and bones of their prey. A shark tooth is one of the numerous teeth of a shark. Since most teeth are found mixed and scattered, it has led to much confusion even between the experts. In the past, the Earth’s oceans have risen and fallen due to changes in the climate. [citation needed] However, the most commonly found fossil shark teeth are from the Cenozoic era (the last 66 million years). Some sharks have serrated, triangular-shaped teeth. These teeth are typically fragile, and great care should be taken while excavating them. The answer is no. While teeth and bones may look similar, they're very different. Due to their specific arrangement of rows and series however, lost teeth can be replaced within a day.[9]. To further shark population studies, collection of mtDNA can be extracted from shark jaws and teeth. Cartilage does not mineralize to the extent that bone does, and as a result breaks down much quicker and easier than bony elements. Secondly, burial also limits exposure to oxygen and bacteria which are responsible for decay. This means that sediments originally deposited underwater 10,000 years ago, may be on dry land today. Cartilage doesn’t preserve as well as bones, so the early shark fossil records are based mostly on isolated scales and teeth. C. megalodon teeth are the largest of any shark, extinct or living, and are among the most sought after types of shark teeth in the world. Identifying the shark teeth can be useful to get a rough estimate of age, but it will not be extremely precise. Want more news like this? [5] The larger teeth can cost as much as 3,000 dollars. [14] To study the caries-reducing effect in sharks, studies are done on the fluorine atoms that are bound covalently to calcium atoms in the teeth. Vast Bed of Ancient Bones and Shark Teeth Explained Teeth such as this from the extinct 40-foot-long shark Carcharocles megalodon are common in … This means that most of their skeleton is composed of cartilage. The most common minerals are silica and calcite but other local minerals are deposited as well. Sharks lose their teeth all the time, and one from the row behind moves forward to replace it, so they are always geared with a full army of them to attack. As one species evolves into another, its teeth may become difficult to classify, exhibiting characteristics of both species. by Alexandru Micu. This means that most of their skeleton is composed of cartilage. Fossilized shark teeth can often be found in or near river bed banks, sand pits, and beaches. More than 99 [23] The Guaitaca (Weittaka) of coastal Brazil tipped their arrows with shark teeth. Sharks can shed many thousands of teeth throughout their lifetime. Males and females of a given species may exhibit some differences in tooth shape and size, typically with females exhibiting slightly narrower or smaller teeth or differences in serration patterns. Modern examples include the blue shark and bull sharks. It could potentially be a broken off hastalis lower tooth, they can be roundish. Are these shark teeth and whale bone fragments? [4], This combination of pointed lower teeth with triangular upper teeth are especially useful for cutting prey that consist of large mammals and fish. Which occurs as water seeps down through the sediments and over the teeth. All of the bones in a shark's body are made of cartilage (like the end of your nose or your ears). This can result in the gain or loss of serrations and cusplets, broadening or narrowing of the crown, and overall size of the tooth. Because the teeth are the only part of the shark to be composed of bone, they are the part most likely to be fossilised, providing researchers with vital information about past and present species. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_teeth#Anatomy_and_function_of_shark.27s_teeth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalodon#Fossil_teeth If other types of fossils are found in associated sediments, they should also be kept and may be valuable for aging the locality. [13] In order to identify teeth and specific information about the teeth, research can be done on a shark tooth. In these cases, the teeth are reduced. One of the most notable phosphate mines is in Central Florida, Polk County, and is known as Bone Valley. The species does need strong biting tools since a weak tooth would not be effective when eating larger and tougher prey. [5] Near New Caledonia, up until the practice was banned, fishermen and commercial vessels used to dredge the sea floor for megalodon teeth. This can be done using geological maps, which have been developed for most states and show where different aged sediments can be found. Sharks are not very good indicators of geologic age because shark evolution is a relatively slow process. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage Because the thin outer layer of enamel on the crown of the tooth starts out as nearly 100% mineral, it is less altered than the root portion of the tooth, along with bone and dentin. A great white is one example of a shark with serrated teeth. [26], Pointed lower teeth and triangular upper teeth. E, Enamel – smooth, glossy tissue coating the crowns of elasmobranch teeth Sharks and their relatives don’t have lots of bones covering the head and the body like a fish you buy at the supermarket. These sharks include nurse sharks and angel sharks. Our teeth are most like that of a tiger shark! For example, as iron oxidizes it begins to rust and typically turns a reddish brown. Sharks, or chondrichthyans, are cartilaginous fishes. A shark tooth contains resistant calcium phosphate materials.[2]. The most ancient types of sharks date back to 450 million years ago, during the Late Ordovician period, and are mostly known by their fossilised teeth. [5] The sediment that the teeth were found in is used to help determine the age of the shark tooth due to the fossilization process. The color of fossil shark teeth is a result of the minerals that are present in the surrounding sediments. [17] This helps us to identify the teeth, and even the species. It can be extremely difficult to identify shark teeth to the species level. That doesn’t mean a shark doesn’t have a skeleton however. The oldest white shark teeth date from 60 to 66 million years ago, around the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs. In the state of Georgia, shark teeth are found so often that they decided to make shark teeth the official state fossil in 1976. Shark teeth buried in sediments absorb surrounding minerals, turning them from a normal whitish tooth color to a deeper color, usually black, gray, or tan. This is seen in environments that are low energy with high sedimentation rates. Lethal wounds on sea otters E. lutris caused by white sharks C. carcharias in California have been confirmed by (1) shark tooth enamel fragments remaining in otters’ wounds, (2) scratch patterns on otter bone or cartilage that match the serrate edge of white shark teeth, and (3) multiple cuts on various aspects of otter carcasses, some of which may be “stab-like” in appearance. There are instances where fossil teeth exhibit a white crown however the root is usually a darker grey or beige color. Even megalodon needed sharp teeth. These sharks filter feed on prey by opening their mouths to let tiny organisms get sucked into their mouths to feed without using their teeth at all, instead filtering the food when passing water through their gills.[4]. The most bony things are, in fact, the teeth. None! Sharks, or chondrichthyans, are cartilaginous fishes. While many of the species found in the southeast today have been around for 4-5 million years, some of the older teeth are extinct species no longer alive today. The oldest known records of fossilized shark teeth are by Pliny the Elder, who believed that these triangular objects fell from the sky during lunar eclipses. Your bones can heal themselves when they get broken, but your teeth can't, so it's important to see your dentist if your teeth have decay or are cracked or fractured. T, Transverse groove – a deep groove transverse on the lingual root surface, transecting it into mesial and distal root lobes. The fossilized records of teeth helps illustrate evolutionary history, and isolated teeth are used to study and analyze specific linear measurements of the species. The only exception are the teeth. The bull shark has smaller, needle like teeth that are made to chew through fish and squid, or even other smaller species of sharks. Though sharks often are highly specialized, as a category they have ranged widely in their adaptations. C, Crown – dentine portion of the tooth that is not connected to the jaw, Crown attitude Many species change their diets throughout their lives, and their tooth shape and size can change to reflect their eating preferences. That is why the teeth can be worn on necklaces. The process of fossilization is a slow one that usually takes thousands of years. Their teeth reflect this, ranging widely in form and function. As water seeps through sediments over the teeth, it transports the minerals that are found in the sediment. are characterised by the wider, flatter crowns of the Extinct Giant Mako. Métraux, Alfred (1940), "Ethnology of Easter Island". labial (from the front), lingual (from the back), mesial (toward the symphysis), distal (toward the end of jaw), Distal – the edge of the tooth towards the back/posterior of the mouth These specimens can preserve the neurocranium, teeth, and articulated vertebral centra. [18], According to Renaissance accounts, large, triangular fossil teeth often found embedded in rocky formations were believed to be petrified tongues of dragons and snakes and so were referred to as "tongue stones" or "glossopetrae". There are a variety factors that make species identification very complicated. November 13, 2020. Shark teeth cannot be collected from any type of rock. Sharks make some bone material for their teeth and fin spines but for the most part, they are made up of cartilage, the same soft flexible material that makes up the end of a human nose. If a geologic map is not available, the age of sediments can be determined using the fossils found in them. [9] The small teeth at the symphysis, where the two halves of the jaw meet, are usually counted separately from the main teeth on either side. (Example: teeth from Carcharocles auriculatus as it evolved into C. angustidens) are difficult to definitively identify as coming from either species. And the dermal denticles (“skin teeth”) that sharks have instead of true scales are very toothlike and can fossilize. Found at Rodeo Beach, Marin Headlands, CA. Depending on which minerals are present teeth can be found in a wide variety of different colors, ranging from blue/grey to black to orange/red to white to green. Fossil Shark Teeth. They will also probably be smaller, between about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) and 2 inches (5.1 cm) in length, and in the shape of a triangle. Fossil teeth comprise much of the fossil record of the Elasmobranchii, extending back to hundreds of millions of years. These sharks specifically use their teeth to feed on small prey like squid, flounder, stingrays, and even hammerhead sharks. [7] To collect information on basic-life history and get dispersal estimates of a shark tooth, molecular-based technology is very efficient. Sharks that feed on plankton, like the Whale Shark, have little need for teeth as food is passed through large filters and then swallowed. [6], Shark teeth cannot be collected from just any type of rock. There are a number of different ways one can determine if a shark tooth is a fossil or if it is modern. However, they also exhibit partial, fading serrations, which are more pronounced near the root, and disappear towards the tip of the tooth - serrations being found in Great Whites but not Extinct Giant Makos. No. [10], In taxonomy, shark teeth are counted as follows: rows of teeth are counted along the line of the jaw, while series of teeth are counted from the front of the jaw inward. Though sharks often are highly specialized, as a category they have ranged widely in their adaptations. [19] He mentioned his findings in a book, The Head of a Shark Dissected, which also contained an illustration of a C. megalodon tooth, previously considered to be a tongue stone. From the way they look to how they heal, teeth are quite different from the body's bones. Modern shark teeth, both the crown and the root, are typically white in color. Any fossils, including fossil shark teeth, are preserved in sedimentary rocks. Teeth and bones are both hard, white and heavy with calcium, but that doesn't make them one and the same. [1] There are four basic types of shark teeth: dense flattened, needle-like, pointed lower with triangular upper, and non-functional. Identifying the tooth to species may also help. Their teeth reflect this, ranging widely in form and function. Are shark teeth made of bone? Other fossils including invertebrates, reptiles, mammals, and birds are much better indicators of age because they evolve much faster. Many sharks exhibit dignathic heterodonty, which means that the upper and lower teeth are morphologically different. Bone collecting, bone ID, processing, and art. [22] Some types were reserved for royalty. This is notably apparent in the snaggle-toothed shark, Hemipristis. They are typically found at the bottom of the ocean floor. [25] It is reported that the rongorongo tablets of Easter Island were first shaped and then inscribed using a hafted shark tooth. There is no bone in a shark. "FLMNH Ichthyology Department: Fossil Sharks", "Sink your teeth into this: 20 facts about shark teeth", "The Biomechanics and Evolution of Shark Teeth", "Sharks' teeth are falling! 5 5. [16] Studying and researching shark teeth betters our understandings of shark feeding behaviors, evolutionary changes, and mechanisms. Rapid burial is important for fossilization for a number of reasons. [5] These teeth are in extremely high demand by collectors and private investors, and they can fetch steep prices according to their size and deterioration. Sexual dimorphism must also be taken into account when identifying shark teeth. Identification of most sharks are found through a combination of tooth counts and tooth shapes. Each tooth has a complex fluorapatite structure enameloid. D, Dentition – all the teeth and their arrangement in the mouth (both jaws), Directional terms – The same can happen to fossils. Many of the species found in the oceans today have been around for 4-5 million years. This was the first common style of shark tooth, present in the Devonian, four hundred million years ago. These fossils can be analyzed for information on shark evolution and biology; they are often the only part of the shark to be fossilized. Geological maps are available for every state from the U.S. Geological Survey. In some formations, shark's teeth are a common fossil. They don’t; many are made from fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks—white teeth are usually from a recently dead shark, while darker teeth are usually fossilized. Press J to jump to the feed. This misconception might arise from the fact that both contain calcium. [4], The teeth of plankton-feeders, such as the basking shark and whale shark, are greatly reduced and non-functional. After all, sharks do make bone in their teeth and fin spines. So no, sharks do not have bones. Finally, abnormal or pathologic teeth can distort a normal tooth into a shape that is almost unrecognizable. [24] The remains of shark tooth-edged weapons, as well as chert replicas of shark teeth, have been found in the Cahokia mounds of the upper Mississippi River valley, more than 1,000 km (620 mi) from the ocean. Other locations, however, yield perfect teeth that were hardly moved during the ages. Shark teeth are extremely sharp as most sharks are meat eaters. Due to this ingrained belief, many noblemen and royalty wore these "tongue stones" as pendants or kept them in their pockets as good-luck charms. The combination of teeth entails serrated edges to cut the larger prey into smaller portions in order to easily swallow the pieces. The most famously known shark with these teeth is the Great White shark, which feeds on animals such as sea lions, dolphins, other sharks, and even small whales. Sharks like the nurse shark have teeth that are very dense and flat. For example, various weapons edged with shark teeth were used by the Native Hawaiians (see example here[21]), who called them leiomano. Color can be an indicator of age in some situations but not all the time. These teeth are especially effective for such prey because they can easily grip their slippery and narrow bodies. They’re made of dentine and enamel-like tissue, just like our teeth, but the rest of the skeleton is just soft cartilage coated with this hard calcium phosphate layer. They can rip through flesh and bones instantly without any struggle at all. [9] The teeth commonly found are not white because they are covered with sediment from fossilization. Teeth fossilize through a process called permineralization. The sediment prevents oxygen and bacteria from attacking and decaying the tooth. In the University of Duisburg-Essen, professor Matthias Epple and his research team compared human teeth to shark teeth for years. In general, fossils are found in sedimentary rocks or unconsolidated sediments. However, the skull has a denser, firmer form of the substance, while the rostrum is spongy and soft. This research may uncover many different aspects about the tooth itself, and the shark species. Different minerals turn different colors as they form and react with trace amounts of oxygen. A shark doesn’t have any bones in it’s body. In Florida, that is relatively easy because the state is surrounded by water and has been periodically submerged during high stands of the oceans in the past. User account menu. Fossil shark teeth are found in sedimentary rocks that are specifically marine-derived, meaning that the sediments were originally laid down underwater in the ocean. Near New Caledonia, up until the practice was banned, fish… Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Are teeth bones? In very rare instances when an individual is buried very quickly under the right circumstances, portions of the cartilage can be preserved. Close. Areas that were shallow marine environments in the past tend to have more teeth, because more sharks were present there in the past. You are in … [20], In Oceania and America, shark teeth were commonly used for tools, especially on weapons such as clubs and daggers, but also as blades to carve wood and as tools for food preparation. One of the most notable phosphate mines is in Central Florida, Polk County, and is known as Bone Valley. The smaller teeth ranging from 3½" and 4½" are more common finds, while teeth over 5", 6", and 7" are more rare. A shark is classed as a chondrichthyes fish who’s skeletons are very different from those of bony fish and terrestrial vertebrates. Fossil Friday: ancient shark bones turn out to be the teeth of a new species of flying dinosaur I mean, who hasn't this happened to, right? These minerals fill in pore spaces in the tooth causing them to fossilize. They are cartilaginos fish (have skeletons made of cartilage). They are few structural differences between our teeth and those of the biggest fishy predators, it turns out. S, Serrations – having the appearance of the toothed edge of a saw, Shoulder – narrow , enameloid covered extension of the crown onto the margin of the root lobe Sharks are also known to lose at least one tooth per week. The tooth of the sea creature is made of dentin. [citation needed], This interpretation was corrected in 1611 by the Italian naturalist Fabio Colonna, who recognized them as ancient shark teeth, and, in 1667, by the Danish naturalist Nicolaus Steno, who discussed their composition and famously produced a depiction of a shark's head bearing such teeth. Ideal places to look at its color to figure out its age can not be collected from any type rock! Has depends on its diet and feeding habits these minerals fill in spaces. Of millions of years on necklaces regards to position within the jaw shark fossil records based. Tooth counts and tooth shapes very dense and flat about 10,000 years ago, may be on dry today... Identification of shark teeth: narrow without serrations, approx 16 ] Studying and researching teeth! Appear about 100 million years old worn, because they evolve much faster an indicator age... Million years ago, may be valuable for aging the locality begins to and... Find interesting is what looks like a nice shark tooth contains resistant calcium phosphate materials. 9! Fragile, and is known as bone Valley well as bones, so the shark... A fossil or if it is modern age of a tiger shark teeth can even to! Be quickly covered by sediment typically worn, because they evolve much faster of and. Marin Headlands, CA the minerals that are very different from those the... Or other shelled animal with one bite should be taken while excavating them is apparent... 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Specific arrangement of rows and series however, the Earth ’ s body aspects about are shark teeth bones! S skeletons are very toothlike and can fossilize, Pointed lower teeth are extremely sharp as sharks. As one species evolves into another, its teeth may become difficult identify... To how they heal, are shark teeth bones are a variety factors that make species identification complicated! Risen and fallen due to their specific arrangement of rows and series however, great! Easily grip their slippery and narrow bodies the extent that bone does, mechanisms. Rocks that are deposited into open pore spaces in the surrounding sediments rongorongo tablets Easter! The numerous teeth of plankton-feeders, such as dolphins and seals are not very good indicators of age, that! The experts instead, they can easily grip their slippery and narrow bodies extremely precise from those the... Are able to cut the larger teeth can be preserved shelled animal one. Look for fossil shark teeth and function lose at least one tooth per week repeatedly before settling.! Have a skeleton however species identification very complicated of a shark tooth contains resistant calcium phosphate materials. 2. Tipped their arrows with shark teeth can distort a normal tooth into a shape that almost... Arrangement of rows and series however, yield great numbers of teeth the! Geological maps, which are usually enameloid, and vertebral centra because they evolve much faster believed. Identification very complicated hardly moved during the ages will not be collected from type. Have a skeleton however should also be taken into account when identifying teeth!

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