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Oral posture, mouthbreathing, and the plight of modern human facial aesthetics

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posted on May, 6 2015 @ 03:33 PM
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Everyone wants to have a pretty face. Good teeth, symmetrical features, and defined bone structure is universally appealing. Unfortunately, in the modern post-industrial era we are seeing an unsettling trend of dysmorphic oral and facial development due to a combination of NON-GENTIC and ENVIROMENTAL factors. Non-genetic is the key word here. For decades, traditional orthodontic practice has treated malocclusion and other oral/tempo-mandibular dysfunctions as a genetic affliction. Thus, they treat it with tooth extractions and braces, which only addresses the symptoms and not the root of the problem. Oftentimes tooth extractions and braces can in fact worsen jaw function and facial development, which I will delve into later.

Logical thought is something we all strive for here on ATS, I assume. For hundreds of thousands of years, our hominid, proto-human, and eventually H. sapiens predecessors had perfect teeth. No crowding, no malocclusion, no jaw misalignment caused by disorders like TMJ. This is a verifiable fact, I encourage you all to to consult archaeological sources and confirm this for yourself. No other mammals, or in fact any other toothed creature on this earth, suffers from the near-ubiquitous malocclusion we are seeing today. This is a strictly human phenomenon, and a fairly recent one at that. The evidence looks even more damning when we consult the studies of Weston Price, who observed that among the Inuit population in Canada still living a traditional lifestyle, all had perfectly straight teeth. That is, until these Inuits made the full transition into a modern lifestyle. Upon abandoning their old eating habits and adopting a Western diet, Mr. Price noted that the Inuits were experiencing a veritable outbreak of crooked teeth, ill-formed faces, and a marked atrophy of the chewing apparatus and lower face (masseter muscles that aid in jaw function). The Inuits' faces were getting thinner and longer, their jaws were recessed and positioned back from the proper anterior position, and their palates had narrowed significantly.

Now, we all know people today who look like that. A thin, long face, a weak chin, a recessed jaw, and a face that appears to sag downward. This is not the natural shape of the human face. A properly developed face exhibits defined bone structure and forward growth, characterized by flaring zygomatic bones and good suborbital support, a prominent mandible, forward-grown maxilla, wide masseters, wide shallow palette (linked to the maxilla), hollow cheeks, and a prominent supraorbital ridge (brow bone), as well as strong orbital rims.

I will illustrate what I'm talking about with a few pictures.



This is the face of a chronic mouthbreather with swollen adenoid tissue, crooked teeth, narrow palette, and a hopelessly recessed maxilla:

1.bp.blogspot.com...



Now, this is all linked, though you may not have caught on to it it yet. It all begins with poor oral posture. Whether this is because we are not chewing hard foods (we live on a soft food diet, completely different from our ancestors), or because of nutrient deficiencies, or because we feed our infants using bottles (it has been shown that infants who breastfeed are more likely to develop a mature swallowing pattern, while bottle-fed children are more likely to retain an infantile swallowing pattern, i.e. tongue projection). Or it could even be from our continuous indoor habitation in dusty microbe-filled rooms, leading to swollen sinuses and blocked nasal passages. There is plenty of contention in the orthotropic field about the exact cause of poor oral posture, but its effects are startlingly clear and visible.

It begins with the tongue dropping to the floor of the mouth, and the person may start breathing through the mouth (perhaps only while sleeping, but it can get progressively worse). Proper oral posture has the tongue on the roof of the mouth (palette), with the lips sealed and teeth together. Whether bad oral posture is because of nasal blockage, weak masseter muscles, or some other cause, the result is the same. The tongue drops, and the mouth begins to hang slightly open. The jaw begins to sag and move backward toward the neck so that the airway is less restricted. Over the years, the face will exhibit downward growth rather than proper forward growth. The maxilla will become retruded, the jaw and chin will lack projection, and it will appear as though the entire face is sagging downward. Dark circles under the eyes are often noted, as well as an exposed sclera under the iris. The maxilla is the keystone to proper facial growth, and without proper oral posture, the maxilla narrows and recedes, and the rest of the face follows suit. Have you ever heard someone say they have a deviated septum? Weak facial growth is the cause of that. The nasal passages are restricted because the face did not grow properly. TMJ disorder similarly has its roots here, and a misaligned jaw can easily be attributed to mouthbreathing and poor oral posture.

Now, to illustrate my point, I will provide you all with a photo from a case study on the effects of mouthbreathing. The first image is of the child at the age of 10, and the second two images are the same child at the age of 17. Between the time that these two pictures were taken, the boys father bought him a gerbil that he kept in his room. Unbeknownst to the father, his son turned out to be virulently allergic to the gerbil, and as result, suffered from total nasal blockage for many years before being treated. As you can see, his face changed radically and for the worst.

mahb.stanford.edu...

In summary, in this era we are undergoing a startling trend of facial atrophy, and it will only continue to get worse unless we start treating the root of the problem. Braces and tooth extractions are not natural, and prior to the modern era such a thing would have been unthinkable. Our aesthetics as a species are declining because we are so far removed from our natural physiological habits and environment. I estimate that 80% of people today suffer from some degree of improper facial development. If you have any questions, contentions, or if you would just like to express rapturous agreement, feel free to do so.

edit on 6-5-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/7/2015 by semperfortis because: Edited by request




posted on May, 6 2015 @ 03:48 PM
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On "The Big Bang Theory", after Bernadette had gotten a high paying job with a big corporation, she said "the company I work for once invented and cured an eye disease in one month". lol.

I'd never heard the term "mouthbreather", until some company started selling little gadgets to attach to the outside of your nose during sleep. It's purpose -- to cure the "mouthbreather".

Sorry, it's what I thought about reading your OP, which is interesting by the way. At the same time, some people are born with the facial aesthetics we admire, and our society values, while others aren't. I know sleep apnea and other difficulties can be caused from the throat relaxing during sleep, so I suppose it's possible it could have some bearing on facial features as well, although I would think it would have to occur in the younger years while the body is still developing.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:03 PM
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originally posted by: ladyinwaiting
On "The Big Bang Theory", after Bernadette had gotten a high paying job with a big corporation, she said "the company I work for once invented and cured an eye disease in one month". lol.

I'd never heard the term "mouthbreather", until some company started selling little gadgets to attach to the outside of your nose during sleep. It's purpose -- to cure the "mouthbreather".

Sorry, it's what I thought about reading your OP, which is interesting by the way. At the same time, some people are born with the facial aesthetics we admire, and our society values, while others aren't. I know sleep apnea and other difficulties can be caused from the throat relaxing during sleep, so I suppose it's possible it could have some bearing on facial features as well, although I would think it would have to occur in the younger years while the body is still developing.


That is definitely true, a lot of what makes a good looking face is genetic and it can't be changed. But straight teeth and a well-developed jaw should be the norm, rather than the exception. The rest of this theory is rather more speculative- namely the sagging of the face due to poor bone support. But from my own personal observation, all these things seem to be linked in some way.

What I truly want to know is what's causing it in the first place. There are a ton of different explanations that orthodontists have been coming up with. Weston Price attributed it to nutrient deficiencies, but others are now saying it's because we are not chewing enough or because we have never learned to swallow properly (it's linked to breast feeding).

Personally I give the most credence to a two-pronged theory of mine: number one, allergies and things like asthma (so-called "diseases of civilization") have skyrocketed in the modern era and the resulting nasal blockage is ruining our breathing. Number two, we simply don't chew. Our Paleolithic ancestors literally had to chew for minutes at a time so that they could swallow the tough, gamey meat they were eating, as well as raw plant matter.

And yes, the problem mainly expresses itself in children and adolescents. If a child isn't breathing right and walking around with a slacked jaw and wonky mouth posture, I'm certain it will affect their development.

It's similar to the concept of someone walking with a hunch. People that have hunches, don't intentionally walk that way. They don't wake up one morning and say "I'm going to stop walking with a hunch". It's a slow, gradual thing and it's difficult to change, because the body has adapted to that posture.
edit on 6-5-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:10 PM
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While I normally breathe through my nose, I have both a recessed chin, which I hate and have considered plastic surgery for as well as sleep apnea.
After reading your post, I found this article which was a very helpful read as well: www.mouthmattersbook.com...
I think myofunctional oral posture and full face orthodontics need more attention within our society and we can benefit from more awareness of these issues.
edit on 6-5-2015 by gottaknow because: (no reason given)

edit on 6-5-2015 by gottaknow because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:10 PM
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or........genetics had something to do with it!.....or.......environmental factors had something to do with it!.....just sayin'



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:22 PM
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originally posted by: gottaknow
While I normally breathe through my nose, I have both a recessed chin, which I hate and have considered plastic surgery for as well as sleep apnea.
After reading your post, I found this article which was a very helpful read as well: www.mouthmattersbook.com...
I think myofunctional oral posture and full face orthodontics need more attention within our society and we can benefit from more awareness of these issues.


There are a few things I can recommend for you, but this is strictly unprofessional advice. I would advise you to visit what's called a "functional orthodontist" and tell him what you think is the problem. It also depends on whether you have bite problems, or if the shape of your chin is just genetic.

Because I can tell you now, if you are suffering from an overjet, surgery may not be necessary at all. Functional orthodontists work with something called "functional appliances", basically, they are a sort of facial brace that aims to move the jaw into a better position. In the case of an overjet, the aim would be to move a recessed jaw forward.

There are also a few things you can do at home that may help with your sleep apnea. The first thing I would absolutely recommend is to look up the Buteyko method of breathing, this method has had some great success with both asthma and sleep apnea. Also, if you are sleeping on your back- stop. You should always be sleeping on your side.

And there is one thing that I can't stress enough- always keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth! Doing that should make sure that any problems you have with the maxilla don't get worse, and could actually improve.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:26 PM
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originally posted by: jimmyx
or........genetics had something to do with it!.....or.......environmental factors had something to do with it!.....just sayin'


Like all things in life, it's probably a middle ground. Combination of both.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:28 PM
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Interesting. My wife was born with a severe underbite - not sure if there's a medical term for it. Around the age of 8, other kids started to point it out and she had never realised there was an issue until she started a new school and the bullying became commonplace. Problems eating and swallowing added to a pretty miserable experience at school.

To cut a long story short, she started orthodontic work at 14 in preparation for an op when her bones had finished growing. She had a double osteotomy, jaw broken in 8 places, hip bone used to create cheek bones and 20 plus titanium plates in her face.

A couple of her cousins share similar issues although not as extreme but I wondered what your thoughts were.
edit on 652015 by Scallywwagg because: nonsense in parts



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:29 PM
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Weston Price is a boss. He also concluded that dental hygiene is only required because of the crappy food we eat - shocker. This is, at least in part, because a normal diet consisting of raw food will deposit in the gaps of your teeth and act as a natural antibiotic around your teeth (plants have natural antibiotic mechanisms). No bad breath either if you are eating raw food all the time.

Anyway, I did not hear this other side of Weston Price. I have TMJ and did not know that correct posture was tongue to the palate. I've heard people theorize that cooking enabled an advancement in hominid encephalization, but I disagree. Price's/your idea of developing oral muscles via the extensive chewing required for raw food seems much more intuitive, and this is definitely something our society/all western culture lacks today.

Very enlightening thank you.

edit on 6-5-2015 by cooperton because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:41 PM
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originally posted by: Scallywwagg
Interesting. My wife was born with a severe underbite - not sure if there's a medical term for it. Around the age of 8, other kids started to point it out and she had never realised there was an issue until she started a new school and the bullying became commonplace. Problems eating and swallowing added to a pretty miserable experience at school.

To cut a long story short, she started orthodontic work at 14 in preparation for an op when her bones had finished growing. She had a double osteotomy, jaw broken in 8 places, hip bone used to create cheek bones and 20 plus titanium plates in her face.

A couple of her cousins share similar issues although not as extreme but I wondered what your thoughts were.


An underbite is a rather different matter, and I would definitely attribute that to genetics before anything else. You mentioned that she had problems with swallowing, and that can sometimes be a problem with underbites and it has mainly to do with the tongue. Oftentimes the tongue won't "fit" properly into the shape of the mouth, or sometimes it can even be too large. People with this can have an overactive gag reflex as well as problems chewing.

I'm not sure I'm knowledgable enough about this particular topic to give you a very good answer, but this is certainly something I'll be researching in the future.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:48 PM
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originally posted by: cooperton
Weston Price is a boss. He also concluded that dental hygiene is only required because of the crappy food we eat - shocker. This is, at least in part, because a normal diet consisting of raw food will deposit in the gaps of your teeth and act as a natural antibiotic around your teeth (plants have natural antibiotic mechanisms). No bad breath either if you are eating raw food all the time.

Anyway, I did not hear this other side of Weston Price. I have TMJ and did not know that correct posture was tongue to the palate. I've heard people theorize that cooking enabled an advancement in hominid encephalization, but I disagree. Price's/your idea of developing oral muscles via the extensive chewing required for raw food seems much more intuitive, and this is definitely something our society/all western culture lacks today.

Very enlightening thank you.


Ah, now this is a topic I can provide you with quite a bit of info about. The reduction in brain mass in modern humans is an absolute fact, at least in Europeans- Paleolithic Cro-Magnons had significantly larger brains, as did Neanderthals. As for the exact cause of that, very difficult to say. There is a translated Russian source I have on this, the English is not superb, but it's readable.

It's also important to note that other studies in Russia during the 20th century documented a drastic change in cephalic index as Russia became more industrialized. Previously, brachycephaly was the norm (broad head, high cephalic index). Over the years it gradually decreased and Russians were markedly more dolichocephalic than they were in the past. Anyway, I'll find that Russian source about brain size.
edit on 6-5-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:50 PM
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a reply to: DiggerDogg

Thanks for your time. It is fascinating to think what she's had done. And funnily enough she also has a deviated septum!

Can I also ask where your interest in the overall topic came from?

*tongue is firmly pushed against the roof of mouth*



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 05:12 PM
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originally posted by: Scallywwagg
a reply to: DiggerDogg

Thanks for your time. It is fascinating to think what she's had done. And funnily enough she also has a deviated septum!

Can I also ask where your interest in the overall topic came from?

*tongue is firmly pushed against the roof of mouth*


Well, I suppose it was a long journey from what I was originally concerned with, to what I'm discussing now.

I started out being the typical skeptic of modern processed foods, the usual stuff really. I also had grown up with terrible asthma, and managed to "cure" myself of it through what I like to think was willpower, but it was really a change in my breathing. The whole idea of "deep breathing" is a patent lie. According to Buteyko, humans now are actually suffering from what amounts to constant hyperventilation- we are taking in large gulps of breath and breathing quickly, but it's counterintuitive. Breathing like this actually reduces oxygen uptake in the long run. At rest, people should be breathing as shallowly as possible. Following this method, I essentially put the asthma into near-permanent remission.

Now, I'm not saying this will work for everyone, the causes of asthma are varied. But, it did help me. The rationale is basically- breath less, breath better.

And so I eventually ended up here, discussing teeth, facial bones, and skull structure.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 05:46 PM
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A lot of 'weak jaw profile' is genetic, similarly for recessive chins and small palettes, rather than the result of lack of chewing. The images you posted were extremes and probably due to genetics. I know from an anthropological perspective that humans used to have much stronger jaws and muscle and bone generally due to physical use and that the French have stronger jaws than the UK population on average due to eating crusty French bread rather than the soft sliced version of the UK.

I have a preference for crusty bread rather than soft sliced and I eat plenty of raw fruit and veg, was vegetarian for years, I eat food that isn't typically British or soft and I have a decent jawline for a woman, strong facial muscles and no overcrowding of teeth, I also breathe normally.
edit on 6-5-2015 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: DiggerDogg

Your theories on why are compelling but your value judgement of the effects seem rather misplaced to me. You cite "aesthetics" as a concern but, objectively, there is nothing more aesthetic about the first picture vs the second. The first looks like a caveman and the second looks like a "nerdy" type person. Neither are what I would consider "correct".

It's been evidenced over and over that people are inherently attracted to what is considered "average". People are drawn to others who are the most composite-like of their fellow species. If your "mouthbreather" becomes what is considered average, then that will be the new attractive.

We all have different tastes. In people, art, and everything else. Short of potential medical issues in severe examples, I see no reason for any concern. We are simply having a hand in our own evolution and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm confident we wouldn't recognize a human from 100 years in the future as a member of our own species.



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 06:05 PM
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originally posted by: Cuervo
a reply to: DiggerDogg

Your theories on why are compelling but your value judgement of the effects seem rather misplaced to me. You cite "aesthetics" as a concern but, objectively, there is nothing more aesthetic about the first picture vs the second. The first looks like a caveman and the second looks like a "nerdy" type person. Neither are what I would consider "correct".

It's been evidenced over and over that people are inherently attracted to what is considered "average". People are drawn to others who are the most composite-like of their fellow species. If your "mouthbreather" becomes what is considered average, then that will be the new attractive.

We all have different tastes. In people, art, and everything else. Short of potential medical issues in severe examples, I see no reason for any concern. We are simply having a hand in our own evolution and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm confident we wouldn't recognize a human from 100 years in the future as a member of our own species.


You may be right. But I'm confident that the majority of women would find the man in the first picture more attractive, and to my eyes he simply looks far better. Adaption to the environment is great and all, but you need to think about what exactly we are adapting to and whether it's really a good thing.

Our physical template wasn't designed for breathing through the mouth, and it does indeed have negative health consequences. There have been studies showing that oral breathing leaves one more susceptible to upper respiratory illness, for starters. There is really a plethora of negative consequences that I could list here.
edit on 6-5-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 06:13 PM
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a reply to: DiggerDogg

As a woman, the guy in the first picture looks more handsome but also a bit rogue-ish, a risky choice, looks possibly prone to violence whereas the second guy looks weaker and less physically attractive but possibly a safer option, perhaps more inclined to monogamy and a stable career.

As civilisation in the West is more geared towards attributes other than purely physical, the choices made in mating and procreating affects the evolutionary attributes. My own preference is men that are good looking with a decent jawline that flows nicely with their face, and isn't too wide or thuggish. Complementary genetics is also a factor, my chin isn't very big and my face isn't all that long compared to some women, though not round like others, and I generally have never fancied round faced, small chinned men, perhaps it is due to subconsciously looking for attributes that mixed with mine result in producing attractive children.
edit on 6-5-2015 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 06:14 PM
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a reply to: DiggerDogg

It seems to me as I remember my jaw changing when I was about 14 that the key factor isn't somethings as "iffy" as allergies, but simple dental factors. I distinctly remember thinking about how I shouldhave held my jaw versus how my lower teeth met up behind the uppers (technically, an "overbite). Supposedly, they should both met at the same bite point. Mine don't and I suspect, many don't in white folks.

If I were to hold my jaw to where the teeth do met at the bite point (tips of both sets touching) I would have an aggressive jaw and chin. I'm quite sure that I could have maintained that position if I had made the conscious decision to do so but I did not.

Actually, to project one's jaw outward beyond the normal position is seen as a determined, aggressive move by psychological standards, not unknown to most of us. Might it not be simply a gained trait (culturally derived) of physical expression of some humans?



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 06:30 PM
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originally posted by: theabsolutetruth
a reply to: DiggerDogg

As a woman, the guy in the first picture looks more handsome but also a bit rogue-ish, a risky choice, looks possibly prone to violence whereas the second guy looks weaker and less physically attractive but possibly a safer option, perhaps more inclined to monogamy and a stable career.

As civilisation in the West is more geared towards attributes other than purely physical, the choices made in mating and procreating affects the evolutionary attributes. My own preference is men that are good looking with a decent jawline that flows nicely with their face, and isn't too wide or thuggish. Complementary genetics is also a factor, my chin isn't very big and my face isn't all that long compared to some women, though not round like others, and I generally have never fancied round faced, small chinned men, perhaps it is due to subconsciously looking for attributes that mixed with mine result in producing attractive children.


Looking at him again, perhaps that wasn't the best picture I could have chosen.
His eyessockets are extremely deep, coupled with heavy orbital rims it does give an aggressive vibe. He almost looks pseudo-Cromagnon.

Still an interesting specimen though, that sort of facial structure fascinates me. I've also noted the Native Americans tended to have impeccable facial structure in comparison to Europeans.

Take a look at this picture. You have to admit, the man is beautiful:

www.farwest.it...
edit on 6-5-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 06:41 PM
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originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: DiggerDogg

It seems to me as I remember my jaw changing when I was about 14 that the key factor isn't somethings as "iffy" as allergies, but simple dental factors. I distinctly remember thinking about how I shouldhave held my jaw versus how my lower teeth met up behind the uppers (technically, an "overbite). Supposedly, they should both met at the same bite point. Mine don't and I suspect, many don't in white folks.

If I were to hold my jaw to where the teeth do met at the bite point (tips of both sets touching) I would have an aggressive jaw and chin. I'm quite sure that I could have maintained that position if I had made the conscious decision to do so but I did not.

Actually, to project one's jaw outward beyond the normal position is seen as a determined, aggressive move by psychological standards, not unknown to most of us. Might it not be simply a gained trait (culturally derived) of physical expression of some humans?


Interesting. Now, the first question I'd ask is, did you have braces and extractions?

Also interesting that you would mention "white folks" as looking closer to the second photo on average. It's something several people have noted in this thread so far.

Now, intentionally holding the jaw could *theoretically* cause a very, very slight shift, but I am extremely skeptical of it overall. People generally lack the willpower to do something like that without some kind of appliance like a Lefort or Herbst.

They say that we got an overbite from using utensils, and that is logical. With utensils, the incisers basically become useless because you no longer have to tear off food with them.

And finally, as a cultural trait for holding the jaw in a certain position- I really doubt it. 99% of people just hold their jaw in the position that is most comfortable.
edit on 6-5-2015 by DiggerDogg because: (no reason given)




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