Wild Things: Mongooses, Bladderworts and More...
Fairy-wrens, wasps, and a nearly 3,000 year old big toe
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Laura Helmuth, Jesse Rhodes and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, April 2011
(University of Manchester)
Name: Tabaketenmut's hallux, or big toe; made of leather and wood, it was part of a mummy from the necropolis at Thebes.
Oldest? The Capua leg, which dates to 300 B.C., was known as the world's oldest prosthesis. Tabaketenmut, the daughter of a priest, lived at least 400 years earlier. But was the hallux functional?
Latest: Yes. Jacqueline Finch of the University of Manchester persuaded two right-big-toe amputees to walk around in sandals and a replica; it bore their weight and was comfortable. She says credit for the foundations of prosthetic science "should be firmly laid at the feet of the ancient Egyptians."
“A Mechanical Signal Biases Caste Development in a Social Wasp,” Sainath Suryanarayanan et al., Current Biology, January 20, 2011
“Ultra-fast underwater suction traps,” Olivier Vincent et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, February 16, 2011
“The art of medicine: The ancient origins of prosthetic medicine,” Jacqueline Finch., The Lancet, February 12, 2011
“Danger may enhance communication: predator calls alert females to male displays,” Emma I. Greig and Stephen Pruett-Jones, Behavioral Ecology, October 12, 2010
“Reproductive competition and the evolution of extreme birth synchrony in a cooperative mammal,” S. J. Hodge et al., Biology Letters, August 4, 2010