earliest artificial limb

The false toe in the Cairo Museum is still attached to the mummified right foot of a woman thought to have been in her 50s when she died somewhere between 1069 and 664 BC.

Jacky Finch of the University of Manchester's KNH Center for Biomedical Egyptology is recruiting volunteers missing their right big toe to wear duplicates of the artifact, to see whether it really helps with balance and stride. If it does, that would suggest the appendage served a medical purpose and was not simply another funeral adornment in a culture famous for sending the dead off in style.

Finch and her collaborators are also studying a second ancient artificial toe at the British Museum that they suspect might also have served as a prosthesis.

The Roman Capua Leg is an artificial leg, found in a grave in Capua, Italy. Dating from 300 BC, the leg is one of the earliest known prosthetic limbs. The limb was kept at the Royal College of Surgeonsin London, but was destroyed in World War II during an air raid.
A copy of the limb is held at the Science Museum (London)


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