Skip to comments.World's first prosthetic limb found on 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy
Posted on 07/27/2007 10:02:17 PM PDT by Pontiac
The false toe worn by a 3,000-year-old mummy has always been regarded as a simple ornament, added after death as part of burial rites.
But British scientists who have studied it believe the reality is that it is the world's first working artificial body part, centuries older than anything previously found.
Now they are looking for volunteers who are missing the big toe on their right foot to wear a replica and try out their theory.
The original prosthetic, made out of wood and leather, is strapped to the foot of the mummified body of an Egyptian noblewoman currently on display at a museum in Cairo.
A similar false toe is worn by another mummy at the British Museum, but it has always been thought they were fitted after death as part of burial rites, perhaps to help them get about in the afterlife.
But a British Egyptologist who has examined both believes they were actually expertly fashioned to help their wearers get about and overcome their missing digit while they were still alive.
Both show what she believes are signs of wear and tear, and the Cairo toe is also jointed in the same way as a real one.
Now the team from Manchester University are to produce replicas which will be worn by volunteers to help them establish whether their theory is correct.
If true, the Cairo toe will be the world's oldest artificial body part, beating a leg forged from bronze by the Romans in around 300BC.
"We will use state-of-the-art technology to test whether the replicas of the artificial toes benefit the wearer and could therefore be deemed functional," said researcher Jacky Finch.
"The toes date from between 600 and 1,000BC, so if we can prove that one or both were functional then we will have pushed back prosthetic medicine by as much as 700 years."
The Cairo toe is articulated, just like the real thing, and is attached by a leather strap to the right foot of the woman, aged between 50 and 60. Her big toe had been amputated, and examination of her mummified body shows the site to have healed well.
The team has also examined a second false big toe found in an Egyptian sarcophagus and now held at the British Museum. Known as the Greville Chester Great Toe, it is made from a papier mache-like substance and also shows signs of wear-and-tear, but it does not bend and is thought to have been a cosmetic replacement.
Now the researchers plan to recreate the articulated false toe and are looking for volunteers whose right foot is missing a big toe to trial it.
They will be examined under laboratory conditions to establish whether the device works well enough to have served as an artificial toe aiding walking and balance as much as 3,000 years ago.
The oldest known functional prosthesis was the Roman Capua Leg, made out of bronze and dating from about 300BC.
It was held at the Royal College of Surgeons in London but was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombs during the Second World War.
Gods Graves Glyphs Ping.
Why no photos on these archeology threads? A verbose description simply cannot match a photograph.
A false toe made of out of wood and leather was found on a 3,000-year-old mummified body of an Egyptian noblewoman
That’s pretty cool.
Cairo toe earliest fake body bit
BBC News | Friday, 27 July 2007 | staff reporter
Posted on 07/27/2007 2:57:48 PM EDT by Daffynition
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Wow did not see that when I did a search for the article.
“A Photograph for those too cavalier to make a proper post.”
Wow, think of the splinters if she had ever stubbed her toe! In life, the woman may have been Diabetic and had to have her big toe amputated —just like my cousin who’s biggest concern was whether loosing his big toe would adversely effect his golf game!
I can’t believe anyone, well maybe Dick Morris, could possible be interested in a mummy’s toe.
You pinged the wrong Freeper.
Cavaliers were made by Chevrolet. This was a Pontiac G-TOe.
Not the oldest found so far, mind you, but the first!
Right there it is marked, in fine print, "First prosthetic limb ever produced - made in China". How can anyone dispute that?
Now, if I wanted to be one of those ponderous scientific people, and "let on" to prove what had occurred in the remote past by what had occurred in a given time in the recent past, or what will occur in the far future by what has occurred in late years, what an opportunity is here! Geology never had such a chance, nor such exact data to argue from! Nor "development of species," either! Glacial epochs are great things, but they are vague--vague. Please observe:--
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oölitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, Chapter XVII (Pg 209)
Mark Twain had a fantastic mind, did he not?
“I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.”
Yes, Mark Twain had a fantastic mind.
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