These toes were made for walking!

Mar 01, 2011
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Egypt is all over the news these days! We have been hearing a lot about the ancient civilization of Egypt and the leadership role played by early Egyptians, while watching the struggle for democracy in current day Egypt.

Some of us can come up with the names of important political figures like Cleopatra and the Pharaohs, but we are not quite sure what types of scientific advances were made in ancient Egypt other than the pyramids. An excellent example of the scientific and social advancements from ancient times in Egypt is the world’s first prosthetic toe. Two versions of prosthetic toes have survived attached to the mummified remains of their owners, to be studied by Western scientists over 3000 years after their use by Egyptian noblemen.

In the photo, above, the larger toe was beautifully made of polished and carved wood. The smaller toe was made of a material similar to papier-mâché and leather.

According to Dr Jacky Finch, a University of Manchester researcher, the toes can be classified as ‘prosthetic toes’ because they meet the standard criterion for service. These standards include:

1. The toes withstand bodily forces so that they don’t break when they are used.

2. The proportion and appearance are lifelike.

3. They assist the user in the task of walking.

These two toes were put to the walking test by current day human subjects who were missing a big toe. Both toes were reported to be comfortable and they performed well during the testing period.

You can learn more about the Egyptian prosthetic toe at this website:

The original article was found at the following source:

University of Manchester (2011, February 11). Mummy remains show false toes helped ancient Egyptians walk. ScienceDaily

Author: Tanya