Smarter Than the Average Bear: Exploring the Idiom’s Origins and Influence

Ever wondered where the idiom “smarter than the average bear” came from? I pondered the same question when I stumbled upon a blog post filled with intriguing comments about our beloved cartoon character, Yogi Bear.

This article goes beyond discussing just an idiom; it dives deep into its origins and impact on modern culture thanks to my in-depth research. Ready to journey back to Jellystone Park?

Key Takeaways

The idiom “smarter than the average bear” originated from the character Yogi Bear, a vintage cartoon character from the 20th century known for his wit and cunning nature.

Yogi Bear’s catchphrase became popular as an expressive way of telling someone they are more clever than most—a complimentary nod with a humorous twist.

Yogi Bear’s influence extends beyond television, with appearances in animated films, educational films, video games, and even live-action/animated feature films.

Yogi Bear continues to be a beloved cultural icon whose witty one-liners and mischievous antics have captivated audiences for generations.

Understanding the Idiom ‘Smarter Than The Average Bear’

Let’s boot up our brains and explore the idiom ‘Smarter Than The Average Bear.’ It’s a catchy phrase that we often use to praise someone who is exceptionally intelligent or skilled.

Originating from the world of cartoons, this idiom has walked its way into everyday conversation. Its roots trace back to Yogi Bear, a creation by Hanna-Barbera in 1958. Known for his wit and cunning nature, Yogi used his catchphrase “smarter than the average bear” to highlight his ability to outsmart others.

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Over time, this phrase became popular as an expressive way of telling someone they are more clever than most—a complimentary nod with a humorous twist! So next time you use it, remember you’re indirectly giving kudos to a cartoon bear whose antics once lit up our television screens! Not your typical source of wisdom but certainly one of the most entertaining.

The Origin of the Idiom

The idiom “smarter than the average bear” originated from the character Yogi Bear, a vintage cartoon character from the 20th century who lived in Jellystone Park, a reference to Yellowstone Park in the United States.

Introduction to Yogi Bear

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Yogi Bear – Image via Wikipedia

Immortalized in the halls of animation fame, Yogi Bear has been stealing picnic baskets and hearts since his emergence in the 20th century. Living in Jellystone Park, a clever nod to Yellowstone Park, this character has managed to set itself apart through its cunning wit and unique personality traits.

Much like his namesake Yogi Berra, our loveable cartoon bear is known for his signature style of humor and malapropisms that have left many doubled over with laughter. The true genius behind Yogi would trick unsuspecting tourists out of their picnic lunches using strategies so cleverly devised; it led to the creation of his iconic catchphrase “smarter than the average bear.” Despite no consistent first-run episodes since the 1970s, Yogi’s popularity still holds a prominent place within American culture even today.

Understanding Yogi Bear’s Personality

Yogi Bear is a one-of-a-kind character, full of wit and undeniable charm. Part human and part bear, he boasts a personality that sets him apart from your average bruin roaming Jellystone Park.

Yogi is crafty and quick on his feet with an instinct for mischief – always plotting intricate schemes to secure picnic lunches from the unsuspecting tourists visiting the park.

This clever bear immediately grabs your attention with his tie-and-collar ensemble along with an ever-present fedora – not exactly standard attire in the animal kingdom! But what really captures hearts are his intellect and sense of humor.

His endearing accent chimes in whenever he delivers charmingly devious plans or humorous quips. Rest assured, when it comes to brains, Yogi is undoubtedly smarter than the average bear! The resourceful antics he employs to outsmart both fellow animals and rangers alike highlight his sharp mind at work.

It’s this irresistible blend of intelligence, humor, and charisma —all beautifully wrapped up in fur—that truly make Yogi stand out as more than just another cartoon character; but rather a symbol of American culture from North America dating back well into the 20th Century.

The Catchphrase’s Significance

Growing up, I was always intrigued by the catchphrase “smarter than the average bear.” Little did I know that this idiom had its origins in a beloved cartoon character named Yogi Bear.

With his witty and cunning personality, Yogi would often outsmart picnickers and steal their lunches in Jellystone Park. This phrase quickly became synonymous with someone who possessed exceptional intelligence or skill.

It’s fascinating to see how a simple catchphrase from a vintage cartoon has made its way into American culture, becoming not only an iconic symbol of cleverness but also an expression used to describe individuals who excel above the rest.

The Influence of Yogi Bear

Yogi Bear’s influence extends beyond television. From animated films to video games, Yogi and his catchphrase have become ingrained in popular culture. Find out how this clever bear continues to make his mark in the entertainment industry and beyond.

Television series

Ah, the television series that catapulted Yogi Bear into the hearts and living rooms of millions. It’s no wonder this lovable bear became a household name with his charm and wit. Here’s a breakdown of Yogi Bear’s television success:

  • “The Yogi Bear Show”: This iconic show first aired in 1961 and featured Yogi Bear as the main character. Each episode followed Yogi’s misadventures in Jellystone Park as he attempted to outsmart the park rangers and snatch picnic baskets from unsuspecting campers.
  • “Yogi Bear & Friends”: In this spin-off series, Yogi shared the spotlight with other beloved Hanna-Barbera characters, such as Boo-Boo Bear, Cindy Bear, and Ranger Smith. The show aired from 1967 to 1968, giving fans even more opportunities to revel in Yogi’s antics.
  • “Yogi’s Gang”: This animated series took a more educational approach by teaching environmental lessons through Yogi and his gang’s adventures. It aired from 1973 to 1975 and showcased Yogi’s commitment not only to being smarter than your average bear but also to making the world a better place.
  • Guest Appearances: Yogi Bear didn’t stop at his own shows; he made guest appearances in other popular Hanna-Barbera productions. You might remember seeing him rub shoulders with Fred Flintstone in “The Flintstones” or teaming up with Scooby-Doo in “The New Scooby-Doo Movies.” These crossovers only solidified his place in pop culture history.

Animated films and specials

Yogi Bear’s popularity has extended beyond television, with the character being featured in a number of animated films and specials. These include “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!,” “Yogi’s Ark Lark,” “Hanna-Barbera’s All-Star Comedy Ice Revue,” “Casper’s First Christmas,” and “Yogi’s First Christmas.”

Educational films

Yogi Bear’s influence extends beyond just entertainment. He has also appeared in educational films, imparting valuable lessons to viewers of all ages. Here are some notable educational films featuring our clever and lovable bear:

  1. “Yogi Bear: Play it Safe” – In this film, Yogi teaches children about the importance of safety, covering topics such as road safetystranger danger, and fire safety.
  2. Yogi Bear Visits His Medical Friends” – Yogi takes a trip to the doctor’s office and introduces kids to the world of healthcare. The film educates young viewers about basic medical procedures and encourages them to prioritize their health.
  3. Learning About Citizenship with Yogi Bear” – Yogi Bear delves into the realm of civic responsibility and citizenship in this educational film. He teaches kids about their rights and responsibilities as citizens, emphasizing the importance of being active participants in society.

Video games

Ah, video games. One of my favorite ways to channel my inner Yogi Bear and prove that I’m “smarter than the average bear.” Here are some fascinating tidbits about Yogi Bear’s foray into the world of gaming:

  1. Yogi Bear: The Video Game – This game brought our beloved bear to various gaming platforms, allowing fans to step into the park ranger-outsmarting shoes of Yogi himself.
  2. Picnic Basket Collecting – Just like in the cartoons, these games often revolved around Yogi’s insatiable desire for picnic baskets. Players would guide him through a series of challenges and puzzles to snag those delicious treats.
  3. Hilarious Mischief – Yogi’s mischievous nature was definitely not lost in translation when it came to video games. Get ready to laugh out loud as you navigate through his amusing adventures.
  4. Challenging Obstacles – In true Yogi fashion, these games would throw some clever obstacles your way. You’ll need quick reflexes and even quicker thinking to outsmart the park ranger and grab those coveted baskets.
  5. Nostalgic Appeal – For those who grew up watching Yogi Bear and his antics, these video games offered a wonderful trip down memory lane. It’s a chance to relive those cherished moments in a whole new interactive way.

Live-action/animated feature film

The live-action/animated feature film “Yogi Bear” was released in 2010, and it brought the beloved character to life on the big screen. It combined live-action footage with CGI animation to create a fun-filled adventure for fans of all ages. In the film, Yogi Bear’s iconic catchphrase “Smarter than the average bear” takes center stage as we delve into the origins and influence of this famous idiom.

The Legacy of Yogi Bear and the Idiom

The legacy of Yogi Bear and the idiom extends beyond television and films, with songs, comics, and licensing opportunities keeping the character alive in popular culture. Learn more about how this iconic bear continues to influence our language and entertainment landscape.


As a man, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the catchy tunes that have been inspired by Yogi Bear and his famous idiom. Here are some noteworthy songs to get you grooving:

  • “Yogi Bear Song”: This lively theme song from the original television series is a classic. It captures the spirit of Yogi’s adventures and will have you singing along in no time.
  • “The Ballad of Yogi Bear”: Another iconic tune, this song was recorded by country music legend Johnny Cash for the 1964 animated film “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!” It tells the tale of Yogi’s mischievous antics with a touch of humor and toe-tapping rhythm.
  • “Smarter Than the Average Bear”: As an ode to Yogi’s intelligence, this song celebrates his wit and cunning ways. It showcases how Yogi always outsmarts those who underestimate him.
  • “Jellystone Park”: This playful song takes us on a musical journey through Jellystone Park, where Yogi Bear resides. With its catchy beat and cheerful lyrics, it perfectly captures the fun and excitement of visiting this fictional park.
  • “Yogi Bear” by Cherie (Unknown commentator): A surprise hit from an unknown commentator named Cherie on Agent54’s blog post titled “Bear Hug,” this catchy tribute embraces the lightheartedness that Yogi represents. It celebrates how he continues to captivate audiences with his wit and charm.


Comics have played a significant role in expanding Yogi Bear’s legacy and bringing his adventures to life beyond television screens and movies. Here are some noteworthy aspects of Yogi Bear comics:

  1. Hanna-Barbera Beyond: The “Hanna-Barbera Beyond” comic series presents new stories featuring Yogi Bear, showcasing the character’s enduring popularity among fans of all ages.
  2. Expanded Adventures: In these comics, Yogi Bear’s escapades go beyond the boundaries of the TV show and movies, offering fresh storylines and exciting adventures for readers to enjoy.
  3. Artistic Renditions: Talented artists bring Yogi Bear and his friends to life through vibrant illustrations, capturing their distinctive personalities and adding depth to their animated counterparts.
  4. Humor-Filled Content: Just like in the TV show, Yogi Bear comics are filled with clever wordplay, witty banter, and humorous situations that appeal to both children and adults alike.
  5. Endless Possibilities: Comics allow for limitless creativity, enabling writers to explore unique storylines where Yogi Bear interacts with various characters from the Hanna-Barbera universe or embarks on unexpected journeys.
  6. Collectible Items: For fans of Yogi Bear, these comics offer collectible items that can be cherished as part of their memorabilia or added to their comic book collection.
  7. Continuity with Other Media: Some comics maintain continuity with the TV show or movies, ensuring that readers can continue following Yogi Bear’s adventures while enjoying additional content in a different format.


As a high-end copywriter and SEO expert, I understand the importance of licensing in relation to the enduring popularity of Yogi Bear. Yogi’s charm and wit have not only made him a beloved cartoon character but also a lucrative branding opportunity.

The licensing of Yogi Bear has allowed his image and likeness to appear on various merchandise, such as clothing, toys, and collectibles. From t-shirts featuring his iconic catchphrases to plush toys for kids to cuddle with, there is no shortage of Yogi Bear-themed products available for fans.

This widespread licensing phenomenon showcases the lasting impact that this lovable bear has had on American culture.

With the mention of “licensing,” it’s worth noting that popular animated characters like Yogi Bear often generate significant revenue through brand partnerships and endorsements as well.

Whether it’s appearing in commercials or lending his voice talent to advertising campaigns, Yogi continues to be an influential figure in marketing circles. His recognizable face assures consumers that they are engaging with a trusted brand associated with intelligence and cleverness—a sentiment any man would appreciate.

The Idiom in Modern Culture

In modern culture, the idiom “smarter than the average bear” has become a popular saying used in everyday language and has influenced various aspects of popular culture.

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Use in everyday language

As men, we’ve probably heard the phrase “smarter than the average bear” used in everyday language to describe someone who is exceptionally clever or intelligent. But do you know where this idiom comes from? Well, it all goes back to a beloved cartoon character named Yogi Bear.

Created by Hanna-Barbera in 1958, Yogi Bear became famous for his witty personality and catchphrase: “I’m smarter than the average bear!” This iconic line has since made its way into our vernacular, symbolizing intelligence and wit.

It’s amazing how a simple cartoon character can have such an impact on our language! So next time you hear someone say “smarter than the average bear,” remember that they’re paying you a compliment of high praise.

Yogi Bear’s influence on popular culture is undeniable. From his early television series to animated films and even educational films, Yogi Bear has captured the hearts of audiences across generations.

His mischievous adventures in Jellystone Park have become iconic, and his catchphrase “smarter than the average bear” has entered the lexicon as a compliment for someone who is exceptionally intelligent.

Yogi Bear’s legacy extends beyond TV screens and movie theaters, with songs, comics, and licensing deals further cementing his place in American culture. Today, Yogi’s witty charm can still be seen influencing modern language and pop culture references.

How to Appear Smarter: Embracing Yogi Bear’s Intellect

To truly embrace Yogi Bear’s intellect and appear smarter than the average bear, it’s essential to cultivate cleverness by constantly seeking knowledge and expanding your understanding of the world around you.

Sharpen your communication skills by expressing yourself clearly and articulately, allowing others to see your intelligence shine. Nurture curiosity and always be eager to learn new things, as this will enhance critical thinking abilities and promote adaptability and resourcefulness in any situation.

By leveraging Yogi Bear’s legacy as a symbol of wit and intelligence, you can confidently navigate through life with a level of intellectual prowess that sets you apart from the crowd.

Symbol of Intelligence and Wit

As a man, embracing Yogi Bear’s intellect not only makes you smarter but also adds a touch of wit to your persona. Yogi Bear has become the symbol of intelligence and quick thinking through his iconic catchphrase, “Smarter than the average bear.” This phrase has permeated American culture and is frequently referenced in various contexts.

Inspired by this beloved cartoon character, you can cultivate cleverness by honing your communication skills, seeking knowledgeenhancing critical thinking abilities, and being adaptable and resourceful.

By leveraging Yogi Bear’s legacy as a symbol of intelligence and wit, you can elevate your own intellectual prowess in an entertaining and memorable way.

Cultivating Cleverness

To cultivate cleverness, it’s important to embrace the wit and intelligence that Yogi Bear embodies. Here are some key ways to channel your inner Yogi and appear smarter than the average bear:

  1. Mastering Communication Skills: Enhancing your ability to articulate your thoughts clearly and concisely will make you stand out as someone who is intelligent and well-spoken.
  2. Curiosity and Knowledge Seeking: Embrace a thirst for knowledge by actively seeking out new information and learning opportunities. Cultivating a curious mindset will enhance your intellect and expand your understanding of the world.
  3. Enhancing Critical Thinking: Develop your critical thinking skills by analyzing situations from different perspectives, questioning assumptions, and evaluating evidence. This will help you make informed decisions and solve problems more effectively.
  4. Adaptability and Resourcefulness: Being able to adapt quickly to changes and think on your feet showcases agility of mind. Foster resourcefulness by finding creative solutions to challenges and utilizing available resources efficiently.
  5. Leveraging Yogi Bear’s Legacy: Draw inspiration from Yogi Bear’s cleverness in navigating tricky situations. Use his ability to outsmart others as a model for finding innovative solutions in your own life.

Mastering Communication Skills

Communication skills are an essential aspect of appearing smarter than the average bear. Here are some ways to master communication skills:

  1. Speak clearly and confidently: When expressing your thoughts and ideas, use clear and concise language. Avoid mumbling or speaking too fast, as this can lead to misunderstandings.
  2. Listen actively: Pay attention to what others are saying and show genuine interest in their words. Active listening involves giving your full attention, maintaining eye contact, and providing verbal cues such as nodding or making affirming statements.
  3. Use effective body language: Non-verbal communication plays a significant role in conveying intelligence. Stand or sit upright with good posture, use appropriate hand gestures to emphasize key points, and maintain a friendly yet professional demeanor.
  4. Develop your vocabulary: Expanding your vocabulary allows you to articulate yourself more precisely and express complex ideas effectively. Read books, articles, and other forms of literature to enhance your word bank.
  5. Practice active engagement in conversations: Engage in meaningful discussions by asking thoughtful questions and actively participating in group conversations. This demonstrates your intellectual curiosity while also encouraging others to share their opinions.
  6. Adapt your communication style: Tailor your approach based on the needs of the situation or audience. Be mindful of using technical jargon when conversing with non-experts, and adjust your tone and delivery based on the context.
  7. Master the art of storytelling: Storytelling is a powerful tool for capturing attention and conveying information in an engaging manner. Develop storytelling skills by structuring narratives with a clear beginning, middle, and end while incorporating relevant details that support your main point.

Curiosity and Knowledge Seeking

Being smarter than the average bear isn’t just about innate intelligence, it’s also about having a thirst for knowledge and a curious nature. Here are some ways you can cultivate curiosity and enhance your knowledge-seeking abilities:

  1. Stay informed: Keep up with current events, read news articles, and follow reputable sources to stay informed about what’s happening in the world.
  2. Read widely: Explore different genres, authors, and subjects to broaden your horizons and gain new perspectives.
  3. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions when something piques your interest. Curiosity is fueled by a desire to understand the world around you.
  4. Embrace lifelong learning: Take advantage of educational opportunities, whether it’s enrolling in courses, attending workshops or seminars, or even participating in online webinars.
  5. Engage in intellectual conversations: Surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking and engage in thoughtful discussions that expand your knowledge base.
  6. Explore different cultures: Learning about different cultures can open your mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. Traveling, trying new cuisines, and immersing yourself in diverse experiences can provide valuable insights.
  7. Seek out diverse perspectives: Read books written by authors from different backgrounds and listen to podcasts or watch documentaries that explore various viewpoints.
  8. Experiment with new hobbies: Trying out new activities can expose you to different fields of knowledge and spark new interests that you may not have discovered otherwise.
  9. Explore online resources: Take advantage of online courses, podcasts, TED Talks, and educational websites to access a wealth of information at your fingertips.
  10. Be open-minded: Approach learning with an open mind, embracing the idea that there is always more to discover and learn from others.

Enhancing Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a valuable skill to have, and Yogi Bear can be our guide in cultivating this important attribute. Here are some ways we can enhance our critical thinking skills:

  1. Embrace curiosity: Like Yogi Bear, be curious about the world around you. Ask questions, seek answers, and never stop learning.
  2. Think outside the picnic basket: Yogi was always finding creative solutions to problems. Challenge yourself to think beyond conventional wisdom and consider alternative perspectives.
  3. Sharpen your observation skills: Yogi Bear had an eye for detail, which helped him outsmart others. Pay attention to your surroundings and analyze information carefully before forming conclusions.
  4. Seek diverse viewpoints: Just like how Yogi interacted with different characters in the show, expose yourself to diverse opinions and perspectives. This helps you see things from multiple angles and develop a well-rounded point of view.
  5. Evaluate evidence critically: Yogi Bear relied on evidence, often using it to his advantage when devising clever schemes. Practice evaluating evidence objectively and distinguishing between reliable sources and misinformation.
  6. Be open to change: Adaptability is a key trait of critical thinkers. Embrace change willingly and be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
  7. Stay resourceful: Yogi Bear was always resourceful in finding whatever he needed, even if it meant raiding picnic baskets! Develop problem-solving skills by thinking creatively about the resources available to you.
  8. Connect the dots: As Yogi did with his clever plans, practice connecting different pieces of information or ideas together to form comprehensive conclusions or solutions.
  9. Consider implications: Critical thinkers go beyond surface-level analysis and consider the broader implications of decisions or actions taken. Think about the potential consequences before making choices.
  10. Learn from mistakes: Even though Yogi wasn’t perfect, he learned from his mistakes and used them as lessons for improvement in future situations. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Adaptability and Resourcefulness

Adaptability and resourcefulness are two key traits that make someone smarter than the average bear. As someone who appreciates Yogi Bear’s intellect, I’ve come to recognize the importance of being adaptable and resourceful in order to navigate through life’s challenges and achieve success. Here’s why:

  1. Embrace change: Being adaptable means being open to change and willing to adjust your plans or strategies when needed. Yogi Bear himself was always ready to adapt his schemes if they didn’t go as planned – whether it meant finding a new picnic basket or outsmarting Ranger Smith in a different way.
  2. Problem-solving skills: Resourcefulness is all about finding creative solutions to problems using the available resources. Yogi Bear was a master at this, often using his wit and cunning to overcome obstacles in Jellystone Park. By honing our problem-solving skills, we can approach challenges with confidence and find innovative ways to overcome them.
  3. Make the most of what you have: Just like Yogi Bear made the most of the resources available in the park, we too can maximize our potential by making efficient use of our own resources – whether it’s time, skills, or opportunities. Being resourceful means finding alternative ways to achieve our goals without wasting valuable assets.
  4. Think outside the box: In order to be smarter than the average bear, it’s important to think outside the box and explore unconventional approaches. Yogi Bear was known for his creative thinking and ability to come up with clever strategies. By embracing a mindset of innovation and exploration, we can unlock new possibilities and uncover hidden opportunities.
  5. Learn from setbacks: Adaptability also involves learning from setbacks and using them as stepping stones for growth. Yogi Bear faced numerous challenges in his quest for picnic baskets, but he never let failure deter him from trying again. By adopting a resilient mindset and viewing failures as valuable learning experiences, we can continue to grow and improve.
  6. Stay ahead of the curve: Being adaptable and resourceful means being proactive rather than reactive. Yogi Bear was always one step ahead, anticipating obstacles and finding ways to overcome them before they became a problem. By staying informed, embracing continuous learning, and being proactive in our approach, we can stay ahead of the curve and position ourselves for success.

Leveraging Yogi Bear’s Legacy

Yogi Bear’s legacy extends far beyond the world of cartoons and catchphrases. His cleverness and wit have made him a symbol of intelligence, inspiring us to embrace our own intellect.

By leveraging Yogi Bear’s legacy, we can cultivate cleverness in our lives. This means mastering communication skillsseeking knowledge and curiosity, enhancing critical thinking abilities, and embracing adaptability and resourcefulness.

Yogi Bear shows us that being smarter than the average bear isn’t just about outsmarting picnic baskets—it’s about becoming a smarter individual in all aspects of life. So let’s channel our inner Yogi and tap into his legacy to bring out the best version of ourselves.

Frequently Asked Questions About “Smarter Than the Average Bear”

What does the phrase “smarter than the average bear” mean?

The phrase “smarter than the average bear” is an idiom that refers to someone who is exceptionally intelligent or clever, surpassing the abilities of others in a particular situation.

Where did the phrase “smarter than the average bear” originate?

The phrase originated from the classic animated TV show, “The Yogi Bear Show,” which aired in the 1960s. The character Yogi Bear often referred to himself as being smarter than the average bear, emphasizing his intelligence compared to other bears.

How has the phrase “smarter than the average bear” influenced popular culture?

Since its introduction in “The Yogi Bear Show,” this phrase has become a part of popular culture. It is commonly used humorously to describe individuals who display exceptional intelligence or wit.


In conclusion, exploring the origins and influence of the idiom “smarter than the average bear” has revealed the significant impact of Yogi Bear on American culture. From his catchy catchphrase to his clever antics in Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear cemented himself as a symbol of intelligence and wit.

This iconic character continues to inspire individuals to cultivate their own cleverness, enhance critical thinking skills, and embrace curiosity in order to appear smarter than average.

So remember, with Yogi Bear as our guide, we can all strive to be smarter than the average bear in everything we do.



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Chad is the co-founder of Unfinished Man, a leading men's lifestyle site. He provides straightforward advice on fashion, tech, and relationships based on his own experiences and product tests. Chad's relaxed flair makes him the site's accessible expert for savvy young professionals seeking trustworthy recommendations on living well.

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