today, millions of people who have lost body  parts because of illness or injury live better  lives thanks to of the art and science of prosthetics. prosthetics are artificial arms, legs,  feet, joints, and other body parts. today they  may have high-tech computer controls and  sensors. But the very first working, artificial  body part in history that we know about was made for an ancient Egyptian woman who had lost her big toe, probably because of  diabetes. 

Cairo Toe

Cairo Toe

The so-called “cairo toe” is an artistic  wooden and leather right big toe. It was  found attached to the well-preserved mummified foot of the wife of a high priest. When  she died, somewhere around 664 B.C.E., she  was between 50 and 60 years old. Her foot  was found by archaeologists in 2002 in the  theban necropolis (an area near modern  Luxor with many tombs, especially of priests  and nobles).

 The toe is cleverly made with joints  so that it can bend, much like a real toe. It includes a tinted toenail, and was attached  to the foot with linen threads. the toe shows  signs of wear, and the site where the original  toe was cut off is well-healed. therefore,  many people who have studied the toe think  the woman actually wore it for many years,  to aid her in walking and balance. other scholars, including Dr. Zahi Hawass,  secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme council of Antiquities, disagree. Hawass thinks the  toe was probably attached to the foot after  death, just to help the woman look better in  the afterlife. 

To find out if the cairo toe could have  worked in real life, a team of scientists from  the KnH centre for Biomedical Egyptology at  the University of manchester in Britain is testing copies of the ancient toe on volunteers  who are missing their right big toe. they will  observe how the toe works in everyday use,  and check it to see if it wears down like the  ancient model.
 
 



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