False Mummy Toes Let Owners Walk Like Egyptians

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Two false mummy toes from Egypt may have actually strutted their stuff as functional big-toe prostheses for their owners, researchers have found.

The two toes — the Greville Chester housed in the British Museum and the Cairo toe at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo — date back to before 600 B.C., which the researchers say is much earlier than what had been considered the earliest known practical prosthesis (called the Roman Capua leg dating to around 300 B.C.)

The Greville Chester toe, named after the reverend who discovered it in Thebes near present-day Luxor in Egypt, is made of cartonnage, which is a type of papier maché made by soaking linen in animal glue and painting it with tinted plaster. It is shaped like a right big toe and at one time held a false toenail. The artificial toe shows considerable signs of wear, the researchers said, including signs of rubbing....

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