One Egyptologist isn’t ready to close the book on the tale of two toes. Once thought to be mere ornamentation for the afterlife, the artificial toes found on two ancient Egyptian mummies may actually be the earliest known prosthetic limbs.
The fake toes in question are the Greville Chester and Tabaketenmut toes. The Greville toe dates to before 600 BC and is made of cartonnage (similar to papier mâché); the Tabaketenmut toe could date as far back as 710 BC and is made mostly of wood, though researchers believe it also contains leather, and it even has a hinge for flexibility.
Jacky Finch, an Egyptologist at the University of Manchester, UK, had a hunch that these artificial toes weren’t just for looks. Not only were the toes rigorously correct in their anatomy, but they also showed signs of wear and tear–which prompted an experiment that has been over 2,000 years in the making.
A recent smattering of shark attacks in the shallow waters of the Egyptian resort city Sharm el-Sheikh has visitors in a state of JAWS-like panic. The sharks (now known to be individuals of at least two different species) attacked five times over six days, killing a German tourist and severely injuring four others.
The state of panic is a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories. One Sharm el-Sheikh diver named Captain Mustafa Ismail believes that the sharks were trained to attack Egyptians by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. He explained his theory to Egypt Today (as retold by Ahram Online):
When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, “no, it’s who let them in?” Urged to elaborate, Ismail said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt’s waters only. “Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until they entered Sinai waters?” asked Ismail.