So, dark and lovely….
The “Cairo Toe” (The University of Manchester)
The earliest known prosthesis, dating possibly as far back as 950 B.C., was discovered in Cairo on the mummified body of an ancient Egyptian noblewoman. The prosthesis is made largely of wood, molded and stained, its components bound together with leather thread. It is, as prostheses go, tiny.
Because it is a toe.
The prosthetic digit—the oldest little piggy in the world—is extraordinarily lifelike, its curved nail sunken into a similarly curved bed. Which is, in its way, remarkable. A toe! One that is several thousand years old! And it’s not just a toe-sized peg—a little device that would have made mobility more manageable for someone who was, by reasons of birth or amputation, missing her big toe. The prosthesis is, as much as it possibly could be, humanoid: maximally lifelike and maximally toe-like. The “Cairo Toe,” as it’s been dubbed, is prosthetic and cosmetic at once—evidence not just of ancient manufacturing stepping in where biology was limited, but of manufacturing engaging in an ancient form of biomimcry.