Friday, July 27, 2007

Is 'Cairo toe' the world's first prosthetic limb?

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Academics want to test an ancient fake big toe to see if it really did help its owner to "walk like an Egyptian".

They have made a replica of the "Cairo toe", a bending leather and wood body part which they believe could be the world’s earliest practical prosthetic.

Now they are seeking volunteers who themselves lack a right big toe, to test their theory that it actively helped its original user to walk.

Jacky Finch, lead researcher at Manchester University’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, said the fact that it showed signs of wear indicated it was a practical limb. It was found strapped to the mummified foot of a 50- to 60-year-old woman who had undergone a toe amputation.

"The toe dates from between 1069 and 664BC, so if we can prove it was functional then we will have pushed back prosthetic medicine by as much as 700 years," she said. Link




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