Navigation Links
Mummies' false toes helped ancient Egyptians walk
Date:2/13/2011

Two artificial big toes one found attached to the foot of an ancient Egyptian mummy may have been the world's earliest functional prosthetic body parts, says the scientist who tested replicas on volunteers.

University of Manchester researcher, Dr Jacky Finch, has shown that a three-part wood and leather artefact housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, along with a second one, the Greville Chester artificial toe on display in the British Museum, not only looked the part but also helped their toeless owners walk like Egyptians.

The toes date from before 600BC, predating what was hitherto thought to be the earliest known practical prosthesis the Roman Capula Leg by several hundred years.

Dr Finch, who is based in the University of Manchester's KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, recruited two volunteers whose right big toe had been lost in order to test exact replicas of the artificial toes in the Gait Laboratory at Salford University's Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research.

Writing in the Lancet, Dr Finch said: "To be classed as true prosthetic devices any replacement must satisfy several criteria. The material must withstand bodily forces so that it does not snap or crack with use. Proportion is important and the appearance must be sufficiently lifelike as to be acceptable to both the wearer and those around them. The stump must also be kept clean, so it must be easy to take on and off. But most importantly it must assist walking.

She continued: "The big toe is thought to carry some 40% of the bodyweight and is responsible for forward propulsion, although those without it can adapt well. To accurately determine any level of function requires the application of gait analysis techniques involving integrated cameras and pressure devices placed along a walkway."

The volunteers were asked to wear the toes with replica Egyptian sandals and, while neither design was expected to perform exactly like a real big toe, one of the volunteers was able to walk extremely well with both artificial toes. No significant elevation in pressure under the foot was recorded for either toe, although both volunteers said they found the Cairo toe particularly comfortable.

The Greville Chester toe made from cartonnage, a sort of papier mach made using linen, glue and plaster shows considerable signs of wear, while the Cairo toe has certain features, such as a simple hinge, a chamfered front edge and a flattened underside.

"The wear on the Greville Chester toe and the important design features on the Cairo toe led me to speculate that these toes were perhaps worn by their owners in life and not simply attached to the foot during mummification for religious or ritualistic reasons," said Dr Finch.

"However, until we were able to test replicas of both toes using volunteers under laboratory conditions, it remained uncertain if they could indeed help their owners to walk.

"My findings strongly suggest that both of these designs were capable of functioning as replacements for the lost toe and so could indeed be classed as prosthetic devices. If that is the case then it would appear that the first glimmers of this branch of medicine should be firmly laid at the feet of the ancient Egyptians."


'/>"/>

Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-771-788-1563
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Humans helped vultures colonize the Canary Islands
2. Heat helped hasten lifes beginnings
3. Adapting to darkness: How behavioral and genetic changes helped cavefish survive extreme environment
4. Snakes and how they helped our big brains evolve
5. New World post-pandemic reforestation helped start Little Ice Age, say Stanford scientists
6. Arctic climate variation under ancient greenhouse conditions
7. Giant rats lead scientists to ancient face carvings
8. Ancient teeth raise new questions about the origins of modern man
9. Pterygotid sea scorpions: No longer terror of the ancient seas?
10. Ancient forest emerges mummified from the Arctic
11. Ancient wind held secret of life and death
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/19/2016)... España y TORONTO , 19 de diciembre de ... Biologics Inc. que permitirá el desarrollo acelerado de MSC-1, un anticuerpo ... varios tipos de tumor en 2017, con múltiples sitios previstos a ... ... con objetivo en el factor inhibidor de leucemia (LIF), una citoquina ...
(Date:12/15/2016)...   WaferGen Bio-systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today that on December 13, 2016, it received a ... Stock Market LLC which acknowledged that, as of December ... stock had been at $1.00 or greater for ten ... Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) of the Nasdaq Stock Market. ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... , Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity ... for graphene by combining the material with Silly ... sensitive pressure detector able to sense pulse, blood ... small spider.  The research team,s ... be read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)...   Boston Biomedical , an industry leader in ... stemness pathways, will feature data from two clinical studies ... ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held from January 19-21, in ... Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational agent designed to inhibit ... stem cells (CSCs) possess the property of stemness – ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Whitehouse ... expertise. Within Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), the scientific staff dedicated to Extractables ... is planned for further growth in 2017. Extractable & Leachable evaluations have become ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Chicago, IL (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 ... ... auction on January 24th, 2017, to sell research and genetic testing lab equipment ... of service in the Northwest and Northeast regions of the United States. This ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Caris Life Sciences, a leading ... the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research, ... the impact of immunotherapy in the treatment of ... services to identify potential trial candidates based on ... physicians and study investigators. The Lustgarten Foundation is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: