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Splendid Fairy-wren (Malurus splendens splendens) calling. (Steven David Miller / NaturePL.com)

Wild Things: Mongooses, Bladderworts and More...

Fairy-wrens, wasps, and a nearly 3,000 year old big toe

Observed

big toe
(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."

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