Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Ancient prosthetic means mummy was probably diabetic

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More news out of the East. And more news about feet. This time from the Macabre file.

An artificial wood and leather big toe discovered on the foot of an Egyptian mummy could be the world's earliest functioning prosthetic body part, according to a report from www.indiaenews.com.

The fake toe from the Cairo museum in Egypt was found in 2000 in a tomb near the ancient city of Thebes. Archaeologists speculated that the 50- to 60-year-old woman the prosthesis came from might have lost her toe due to complications from diabetes.

The wood and leather prosthesis dates from 1069 to 664 B.C., based on artefacts it was found with in the mummy's burial chamber. This means it predates what was previously thought of as the earliest known functioning prosthesis, the Roman Capua Leg, a bronze artefact dating from about 300 B.C. The leg was once at the Royal College of Surgeons in London but was destroyed by bombing during World War II.

Volunteers who have lost their right big toe are now being recruited to see how effective replicas of the prosthesis are. Replicas of a second false Egyptian right big toe on display at the British Museum in London, albeit without its mummy, will also be tested.

Trip out.

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