y^2 - 4y^8 = y^2 - (2y^4)^2
= (y + 2y^4)(y - 2y^4)
formulas a^2 - b^2 = (a + b)(a - b)
Or, seeing that the expression as written is meaningless, and assuming the usual carelessness with parentheses,
(y^2)^(-4) * y^8
= y^(2 * -4) * y^8
= y^(-8) * y^8
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