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Study warns US farmland is now 48 TIMES more TOXIC to insects: Are neonicotinoids to blame for the impending “insect apocalypse?”

Image: Study warns US farmland is now 48 TIMES more TOXIC to insects: Are neonicotinoids to blame for the impending “insect apocalypse?”

(Natural News) Researchers have determined that the nation’s farmland is now 48 times more toxic to insects than it was just 25 years ago, and much of this rise in toxicity is being blamed on the widespread use of a dangerous category of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

The study, which was published in the PLOS ONE journal, provided a thorough assessment of the use of pesticides in America and was the first study to determine just how dangerous our fields have grown for insects in recent years. The role of pesticides was dramatic; the scientists found that neonicotinoids were responsible for a remarkable 92 percent of the rise in toxicity.

Part of the problem is that neonicotinoids create a cumulative toxic burden because they are far more persistent within the environment than other types of commonly used insecticides, which is why the burden today is so much higher than it was a quarter century ago and is likely to grow even higher.

Study co-author Kendra Klein, Ph.D., said: “It is alarming that U.S. agriculture has become so much more toxic to insect life in the past two decades. We need to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees and other insects that are critical to biodiversity and the farms that feed us.”

She also called for a shift from our food system’s dependence on dangerous pesticides toward organic methods of farming that work in harmony with nature instead of destroying it.

Will there be any insects left on our planet in the decades to come?

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Study: Organic food provides more health benefits than non-organic

Study: Organic food provides more health benefits than non-organic

Image: Study: Organic food provides more health benefits than non-organic

(Natural News) It has been said many times that eating organic is healthier, but a recent year-long study by a European Parliamentary committee has once again proven the benefits of food without chemicals. In the report, titled “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” they discovered a link between eating organic and improved early development, as well as the obvious positive of less pesticide exposure.

The study found a lower amount of cadmium in crops and a higher quantity of omega-3 fatty acids in organic meat and milk. Cadmium is a toxic metal, and exposure can cause many issues including causing cancer, and targeting the respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal and neurological systems. On the flip side, a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to a healthier cardiovascular system and improved brain development and function.

The difference between organic and non organic can be found by looking at produce and cuts of meat. Organic crops will typically be smaller and not look as “perfect” as non organic, simply because of the lack of use of growth enhancing substances. They will also be without the pesticides, preservatives and processing that one would encounter with non organic foods.

The same could be said of meat as well, with non organic cuts of meat being larger due to the use of growth hormones on livestock. There is also the added risk of antibiotics being used in cattle and poultry leading to an epidemic of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the U.S. and worldwide. Animals used to produce organic meat, eggs and milk are all raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

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The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry

The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry

Aedes aegypti mosquito potentially carrying the Zika virus. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Researchers discovered the Zika virus in the Zika forest of Uganda – in 1947. It is a virus not much different than the viruses causing dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile fever, and St. Luis encephalitis. The Zika virus eventually spread throughout most of the world. Mosquitoes carry and spread the Zika virus. But for decades the Zika disease afflicting humans was free of brain deform or the shrinking of the infant’s brain  known as microcephaly (a Greek term meaning tiny brain-head).

The 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

I heard the name Zika for the first time in 2016 during the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Reporting on the PBS Newshour offered warnings for those going to Brazil. Other large media went almost berserk. They were shouting that women near the Olympics site were giving birth to babies with tiny brains. They blamed Zika virus. They blamed the mosquitoes for the malformation of the brain of the babies. The Olympics should be delayed or moved to another country. Brazil was dangerous.

Imagine hundreds of athletes and hundreds of thousands of tourists returning to Europe and the  United States with this dreadful Zika disease, especially pregnant women likely giving birth to deformed babies.

Astonishing as these unverified news stories were, government agencies rushed to give them credence. I heard representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeating the questionable newspaper and TV stories about the Zika virus. In addition, CDC keeps saying that fighting Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes in Brazil and Florida with a neurotoxin named “naled” is harmless. After all, farmers and mosquito controllers have been spraying naled for more than fifty years in the United States.

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Chemical Deceit

Chemical Deceit

Photo Source CGP Grey | CC BY 2.0 www.CGPGrey.com

A friend recently put me in touch with Janet Brown (not her real name). This is a woman from Chicago who had the misfortune of renting an apartment that had been sprayed with the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Dow/DuPont produces this deleterious substance.

In late August 2018, Janet Brown visited me and we spent several hours talking. Her real education started in the poisoned apartment in Chicago.

She had read my book, Poison Spring. She wanted to talk.

A poisoned apartment

Our discussion was mostly about pesticides and the Environmental Protection Agency, which “regulates” toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos. I told Janet Brown a few of my EPA stories. And she told me her astonishing story.

Janet Brown grew up in Illinois. She got married to a doctor. She had hopes of becoming a doctor herself. However, the poisoned apartment blew up in her face, causing a tsunami of psychological and health adversities and pain.

The tragedy took place in the 1990s. Janet Brown gave birth to two children. The apartment landlord informed her he was spraying the apartment. He did that for a decade.

The effects of chlorpyrifos poisoning were devastating to her and her children. She had trouble staying awake. She was confused, ill, and endured chronic and savage headaches. The children screamed for days and months. They could barely crawl, walk and talk. Experts said autism explained their hyperactivity, inability to pay attention,  low self-esteem, and aggressive behavior.

This tyranny of disease, the perpetual anguish of the mother, and the ceaseless pain of the children: their constant humiliations in school, the incomprehensible anger and hidden violence boiling over at home and everywhere else, teenagers unable to sign their name or find their shoes – all but annihilated their future.

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Chemically Induced Frankenstein-Humans

Chemically Induced Frankenstein-Humans

Photo Source CGP Grey | www.CGPGrey.com

One of the biggest open questions of this century is whether 144,000 different chemicals swirling throughout the world are properly tested and analyzed for toxicity. By almost all accounts, the scale of toxic risk is unknown. This may be the biggest tragedy of all time, a black eye of enormous proportions.

Correspondingly and very likely, not yet 100% proven but probably 99%, as a result of ubiquitous chemical presence, one hundred fifty million (150,000,000) Americans have chronic disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer, stroke, asthma, cystic fibrosis, obesity, and osteoporosis (Rand Corporation Review 2017). Why?

According to Dr. Paul Winchester, who discovered the link between chemicals, like pesticides atrazine and glyphosate aka Roundup and epigenetic human alteration, the findings are: “The most important next discovery in all of medicine.” (Source: EcoWatch, Aug. 16, 2018)

Dr. Winchester was one of the researchers/authors of “Atrazine Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Disease, Lean Phenotype and Sperm Epimutation Pathology Biomarkers,” PLOS, published September 20, 2017.

The grisly underlying message of that study is as clear as a bell: Chemicals found far and wide throughout America alter human hormones as well as human DNA, which passes along generation-to-generation known as transgenerational inheritance.

Frankly, nothing more should need to be said to spur outrage and pissed-off people all across the land because, if that seminal study is correct in its analysis that chemicals mess up/distort/disrupt human hormones and alter human DNA in a destructive manner, then the streets of America should be filled with people wielding pots and pans, probably pitchforks, and ready for the fight of a lifetime because, by any account, there has been massive failure of ethical standards and regulations of chemicals for decades and decades. Who’s to blame?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

12-Plus Methods For Keeping Challenging Weeds and Pests Out of the Garden

12-PLUS METHODS FOR KEEPING CHALLENGING WEEDS AND PESTS OUT OF THE GARDEN

With organic gardening, especially at the outset, comes a few new challenges for transitioning growers. Pesticides and other chemicals have, for several decades, become the go-to solution for all things in the garden, and now that many of us are clearing our heads from that fog, we are left to rediscover methods for dealing with everyday garden problems. 

When herbicides have been the trick for combating weeds, how do we do it without the chemicals? Where aphids once elicited a poison spray (on our food no less), how do we now stop them from eating our crops? When voles are feasting, how do we protect our food without resorting to awful compound killers? This is our food after all, so we have cause to protect it! If we have to do so without chemicals (which seems a form of protection in its own right), what are we to do? 

The permaculture way is to find somewhat natural solutions (we kind of stage them) to such problems. Bill Mollison is famously quoted as claiming there isn’t slug problem but rather a duck shortage. In other words, we can control slugs with ducks and get more production from the system on the whole. With permaculture techniques, solutions to problems have multiple functions in the garden. Not only will pest insects be thwarted, but pollinators will be invited. Not only will weeds be suppressed, but the soil life will be enlivened. Stacking solutions is how permaculture gardens, much more organically than typical organic gardens, handle weeds and pests, as well as fertility, soil structuring, and so on.  

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The Science of a Vanishing Planet


Dorothea Lange Gravestone St. George, Utah 1953
There are numerous ways to define the Precautionary Principle. It’s something we can all intuitively understand, but which many parties seek ways to confuse since it has the potential to stand in the way of profits. Still, in the end it should all be about proof, not profits. That is exactly what the Principle addresses. Because if you first need to deliver scientific proof that some action or product can be harmful to mankind and/or the natural world, you run the risk of inflicting irreversible damage before that proof can be delivered.

In one of many definitions, the 1998 Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle says: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

Needless to say, that doesn’t easily fly in our age of science and money. Cigarette makers, car manufacturers and oil companies, just to name a few among a huge number of industries, are all literally making a killing while the Precautionary Principle is being ignored. Even as it is being cited in many international treaties. Lip service “R” us. Are these industries to blame when they sell us our products, or are we for buying them? That’s where governments must come in to educate us about risks. Which they obviously do not.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb -of Black Swan and Antifragile fame- has made the case, in his usual strong fashion, for applying the Precautionary Principle when it comes to GMOs. His argument is that allowing genetically modified organisms in our eco- and foodsystems carries unknown risks that we have no way of overseeing, and that these risks may cause irreversible damage to the very systems mankind relies on for survival.

Taleb is not popular among GMO producers. Who all insist there is no evidence that their products cause harm. But that is not the point. The Precautionary Principle, if it is to be applied, must turn the burden of proof on its head. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Monsanto et al must prove that their products do no harm. They can not. Which is why they have, and need, huge lobbying, PR and legal departments.

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Fracking companies won’t have to disclose chemicals thanks to Trump administration rollback

Fracking companies won’t have to disclose chemicals thanks to Trump administration rollback

California and a coalition of environmental groups have all filed challenges to the Bureau of Land Management’s fracking rule repeal.

A large fracking operation in Colorado. (CREDIT: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
A LARGE FRACKING OPERATION IN COLORADO. (CREDIT: HELEN H. RICHARDSON/THE DENVER POST VIA GETTY IMAGES)

On the one-year anniversary of becoming California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra (D) did something he had done 25 times in the previous year — he filed an environmental lawsuit against the Trump administration.

The challenge was to the Trump administration’s recent rollback of federal regulations on fracking — a method of oil and gas drilling that requires companies to inject large volumes of chemical and sand-laced water into rock formations below ground in order to expose oil and gas trapped within. The regulations, finalized under the Obama administration, would have required companies that frack on federal lands to, among other things, disclose the chemicals used in their operations.

But the rule was immediately challenged by the oil and gas industry, which called it “politically motivated” and “duplicative.” In his March executive order on energy independence, President Donald Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review and repeal the fracking regulations. That process was finalized in late 2017.

But California — as well as a coalition of six environmental groups, which separately filed a lawsuit challenging the repeal on Wednesday — argue that the Bureau of Land Management and Zinke violated federal law by failing to provide sufficient justification for repealing the rule.

“We seek an order invalidating Bureau of Land Management’s unlawful repeal, which would in turn reinstate the fracking rule,” Becerra said during a press conference on Wednesday. “We take this action…to insist that the rule of law be followed by everyone, including the occupant of the White House.”

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Farming for a Small Planet

Farming for a Small Planet

People yearn for alternatives to industrial agriculture, but they are worried. They see large-scale operations relying on corporate-supplied chemical inputs as the only high-productivity farming model. Another approach might be kinder to the environment and less risky for consumers, but, they assume, it would not be up to the task of providing all the food needed by our still-growing global population.

Contrary to such assumptions, there is ample evidence that an alternative approach—organic agriculture, or more broadly “agroecology”—is actually the only way to ensure that all people have access to sufficient, healthful food. Inefficiency and ecological destruction are built into the industrial model. But, beyond that, our ability to meet the world’s needs is only partially determined by what quantities are produced in fields, pastures, and waterways. Wider societal rules and norms ultimately shape whether any given quantity of food produced is actually used to meet humanity’s needs. In many ways, how we grow food determines who can eat and who cannot—no matter how much we produce. Solving our multiple food crises thus requires a systems approach in which citizens around the world remake our understanding and practice of democracy.

Today, the world produces—mostly from low-input, smallholder farms—more than enough food: 2,900 calories per person per day. Per capita food availability has continued to expand despite ongoing population growth. This ample supply of food, moreover, comprises only what is left over after about half of all grain is either fed to livestock or used for industrial purposes, such as agrofuels.1

Despite this abundance, 800 million people worldwide suffer from long-term caloric deficiencies. One in four children under five is deemed stunted—a condition, often bringing lifelong health challenges, that results from poor nutrition and an inability to absorb nutrients. Two billion people are deficient in at least one nutrient essential for health, with iron deficiency alone implicated in one in five maternal deaths.2

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Harvey Causing “Unprecedented” Disruptions To Supplies Of “Essential” Chemicals

Harvey Causing “Unprecedented” Disruptions To Supplies Of “Essential” Chemicals

The unprecedented destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey will impact the US economy in ways may not be immediately apparent. Until recently, coverage of the storm’s impact has focused on property damage and the impact on the energy industry. But in a story published Friday, Bloomberg explains the devastating impact the storm has had on Texas’s chemicals industry, which is already causing supply-chain headaches for American manufacturers who’re struggling to source the chemicals required to produce plastics and other components used in everything from milk jugs to car parts.

Indeed, if Texas’s chemicals plants are closed for an extended period, production at a potentially huge number of American manufacturers to grind to a halt.

More than 60% of the US’s production capacity for ethylene – one of the most important chemical building blocks for American manufacturers – has been taken offline by the storm, a development that could ripple across the US manufacturing industry.

“Texas alone produces nearly three quarters of the country’s supply of one of the most basic chemical building blocks. Ethylene is the foundation for making plastics essential to U.S. consumer and industrial goods, feeding into car parts used by Detroit and diapers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

With Harvey’s floods shutting down almost all the state’s plants, 61 percent of U.S. ethylene capacity has been closed, according to PetroChemWire.”

Ethylene, the gas given off by fruit as it ripens, occurs naturally, but it’s also a crucial product of the $3.5 trillion global chemical industry, with factories pumping out 146 million tons last year. Processing plants turn the chemical into polyethylene, the world’s most common plastic, which is used in garbage bags and food packaging. When transformed into ethylene glycol, it’s the antifreeze that keeps engines and airplane wings from freezing in winter.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

High Levels of Chemicals Found in People Living Near Gas Wells: New Report

High Levels of Chemicals Found in People Living Near Gas Wells: New Report

Chemicals from gas wells were discovered in biological samples drawn from residents of Pavillion, Wyoming, at levels as much as ten times the national averages, according to a new report. The study is the first to sample both the air near drilling sites and the levels of chemicals in people living and working near those wells, allowing researchers to study the ways that toxic air pollutants are entering people’s bodies near gas wells and putting their health at risk.

The researchers found evidence of 16 potentially dangerous chemicals in 11 individuals who volunteered to participate in the study by wearing air monitors and providing blood and urine samples. They found benzene, toluene, 2-heptanone, 4 heptanone and evidence of roughly a dozen other substances — including some known to be quite dangerous and others for which little safety information is available.

Wilma Subra, a chemist and microbiologist who has spent three decades researching the impacts of toxic chemicals, and who participated in the new report, told DeSmog that there was reason to be concerned about the health of the people included in the study, saying that they found chemicals “above acceptable levels in many cases.”

The health concerns would be about the same in many gas fields across the U.S., she said. “It is very similar to other areas where shale has been developed,” she added, “but also to areas where conventional drilling has taken place over the years.”

Pavillion is perhaps best-known nationwide for its battles over water contamination and fracking, which began in roughly 2008 when locals first reported that their water tasted different and carried strange odors. The Environmental Protection Agency launched a study, then dropped it, leaving the investigation to state regulators who have yet to reach any final conclusions.

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The Teflon Toxin: Dupont and the Chemistry of Deception

The Teflon Toxin: Dupont and the Chemistry of Deception

KEN WAMSLEY SOMETIMES DREAMS that he’s playing softball again. He’ll be at center field, just like when he played slow pitch back in his teens, or pounding the ball over the fence as the crowd goes wild. Other times, he’s somehow inexplicably back at work in the lab. Wamsley calls them nightmares, these stories that play out in his sleep, but really the only scary part is the end, when “I wake up and I have no rectum anymore.”

Wamsley is 73. After developing rectal cancer and having surgery to treat it in 2002, he walks slowly and gets up from the bench in his small backyard slowly. His voice, which has a gentle Appalachian lilt, is still animated, though, especially when he talks about his happier days. There were many. While Wamsley knew plenty of people in Parkersburg, West Virginia, who struggled to stay employed, he made an enviable wage for almost four decades at the DuPont plant here. The company was generous, helping him pay for college courses and training him to become a lab analyst in the Teflon division.

He enjoyed the work, particularly the precision and care it required. For years, he measured levels of a chemical called C8 in various products. The chemical “was everywhere,” as Wamsley remembers it, bubbling out of the glass flasks he used to transport it, wafting into a smelly vapor that formed when he heated it. A fine powder, possibly C8, dusted the laboratory drawers and floated in the hazy lab air.

At the time, Wamsley and his coworkers weren’t particularly concerned about the strange stuff. “We never thought about it, never worried about it,” he said recently. His believed it was harmless, “like a soap. Wash your hands [with it], your face, take a bath.”

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The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm

The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm

The oceans of the world are currently experiencing a “perfect storm” that is nasty, real nasty with too much warming, too much acidification, too much CO2, too much fishing, too many chemicals, too much Ag runoff, too much radiation (Fukushima), and too little ice (Arctic Ocean) bringing on too much methane (CH4). Whew!

How much can the oceans handle?

The answer to that question may be coming to surface. According to ABC News, May 19, 2014, Mysterious Mass Animal Deaths All Over the World: “Millions of birds, fish, crabs and other small marine life have been turning up dead in massive numbers from the United States, through Europe and down to South America.”

Albeit, headlines about mysterious animal deaths must be tempered by evidence of similar events in the past, as for example, “Wildlife die-offs are an ancient phenomenon. One fossil site in Chile revealed recurring mass marine-mammal deaths, most likely from toxic algae blooms, dating back at least nine million years. Aristotle, in his ‘Historia Animalium,’ in the fourth century B.C., remarked on mass dolphin strandings as simply something that the animals were known to do ‘at times’,” J.B. Mackinnon, On Animal Deaths and Human Anxieties, The New Yorker, April 21, 2015.

That is not to downplay the seriousness of the foreboding signaled by the ABC headline about mass deaths. That needs to be taken seriously and studied. Indubitably, it is extremely important to be absolutely sure of correct analyses, connecting the dots is important. Otherwise, news reports and science are constantly on a wild goose chase, not knowing from where, or where to turn next.

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The Gift of the Maya

The Gift of the Maya

“The Maya forest garden holds, in its ramblings and roots, a hidden-in-plain-sight way through our present crises.”

It takes a bit of time for the elegance of a food forest to emerge, something on the order of decades. Strolling the garden through the morning mist in a hot Tennessee summer, we tried to remember what this landscape looked like 21 years ago, when we moved to this site, set up our yurt and started in on our little corner of paradise.

What we see today does not remotely resemble what was here then. Then there was a wire-fenced, stony horse paddock in a re-emerging poplar forest. The deep soil tilth now is blanketed in thick vines, their giant leaves hiding pumpkins, squashes and melons. Bamboo cathedrals twined with akebia and passionfruit arch 70 feet (20 meters) over a duck pond next to our cob henhouse. As we let out our poultry for their daily bug chase, bullfrogs croak and leap away. A snapping turtle submerges beneath the mat of duckweed and hyacinths at the water’s edge. All around us figs, peaches, apples, pears, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, plums and persimmons bend down boughs under the weight of their fruit, rabbits stealing out to grab a windfall and then hop back to cover, while high up in the oaks, beech, butternuts and hickories, squirrel forest wardens check the progress of their winter larder.

All this complexity, shrouded in mist and glistening in dew, would not be called orderly by farmers trained in Ag schools or raised in a tradition of straight rows and powerful machines with air-conditioned cabs. They can pump food from the earth the way you would pump barrels of oil, but not without depleting reserves accumulated over eons. As they pour on chemicals, the genetically monocultured crops gradually but inexorably lose nutrient density and attract predators.
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Unprecedented Mass Die Offs as Pacific Ocean “Turning Into a Desert” Off California Coast

Unprecedented Mass Die Offs as Pacific Ocean “Turning Into a Desert” Off California Coast

mass-die-offs-california

“Ocean’s dying, plankton’s dying… it’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!”

It was the dying cry of Charlton Heston in the creepy 1973 film Soylent Green… and it could resemble our desperate near future.

The ocean is dying, by all accounts – and if so, the food supply along with it. The causes are numerous, and overlapping. And massive numbers of wild animal populations are dying as a result of it.

Natural causes in the environment are partly to blame; so too are the corporations of man; the effects of Fukushima, unleashing untold levels of radiation into the ocean and onto Pacific shores; the cumulative effect of modern chemicals and agricultural waste tainting the water and disrupting reproduction.

A startling new report says in no uncertain terms that the Pacific Ocean off the California coast is turning into a desert. Once full of life, it is now becoming barren, and marine mammals, seabirds and fish are starving as a result. According to Ocean Health:

The waters of the Pacific off the coast of California are a clear, shimmering blue today, so transparent it’s possible to see the sandy bottom below […] clear water is a sign that the ocean is turning into a desert, and the chain reaction that causes that bitter clarity is perhaps most obvious on the beaches of the Golden State, where thousands of emaciated sea lion pups are stranded.

[…]

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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