Restoring Beauty: Animals and Prostethics

Biologist Jane Fink Cantwell, holds Beauty, a bald eagle, after ...

Beauty, an American Bald Eagle, lost part of her beak to a poacher’s bullet three years ago.  This week, a team of biologists and engineers constructed and fitted a temporary prosthetic to the damaged portion of her beak; a permanent one will be fitted on her later.  


Yahoo! News reported on this procedure in a June 6 article.  The amazing effort reminded me of a Time Magazine article from August 23, 2007.  It describes the amazing advancements in animal prosthetic science that not only replace missing or damaged limbs, but restore natural function and movement.  Some prosthetics can integrate with natural tissue, making them more secure than straps and other fasteners.


The artificial limbs cannot always give the animal total self-reliance, however, and most of the animals will have to remain in captivity.  But having the limbs make them less reliant on humans for basic functions like eating.  Some even argue that they bolster the animal’s self-esteem!


With advancements in animal prosthetics, Beauty will be able to drink and grip food on her own; dolphins can swim again; kangaroos can bounce about naturally; and dogs do not have to get around with those wheeled carts.


Read more about Beauty and other birds of prey at the Birds of Prey Northwest website.


Fake Fins, Beaks and Paws shows pictures of animal who have benefited from artificial limbs.


Try constructing this paper model of an American Bald Eagle!  The finished model measures about half the size of an actual eagle.

Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 7:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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