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Location: United Kingdom

John May is a generalist. A lifelong free-lance author, editor, producer and writer, he has worked on 15 books and written for many major newspapers and magazines. He is a published poet, a semi-professional musician and songwriter, a part-time painter and a dedicated photographer.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Also known as 'Toe-tankhamun', this worn, bendable, leather-and-wood prosthetic big toe is in the Cairo Museum, attached to the foot of a 2,400-year-old female Egyptian mummy whose real toe had been amputated.

Researcher Jacky Finch, is using the ancient prosthetic device to carry out a study at Manchester's KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology. He is recruiting volunteers whose right big toe has been lost in order to test an exact replica of the artificial toe.

A model of a second false Egyptian big toe - on display in the British Museum - will also be tested at the Human Performance Laboratory at nearby University of Salford.

"The toes date from between 1000 and 600BC, so if we can prove that one or both were functional then we will have pushed back prosthetic medicine by as much as 700 years," said Finch.

The oldest known functional prosthesis is the Roman Capua Leg, which was made of bronze and dates from about 300BC. The leg was held at the Royal College of Surgeons in London but was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombs during the Second World War.

"The Cairo toe is the most likely of the two to be functional as it is articulated and shows signs of wear. It is still attached to the foot of the mummy of a female between 50 and 60 years of age. The amputation site is also well healed."

The British Museum artefact- named the Greville Chester Great Toe after the collector who acquired it for the museum in 1881- is made from cartonnage, a sort of papier mache made using linen, glue and plaster.

It too shows signs of wear, indicating that it may have been worn by its owner in life and not simply attached to the foot during mummification for religious or ritualistic reasons. However, unlike the Cairo specimen, the Greville Chester toe does not bend and so is likely to have been more cosmetic.

"The Human Performance Laboratory will use state-of-the-art technology to test whether the replicas of the artificial toes benefit the wearer and could therefore be deemed functional," said Jacky.

"If either one is functional it may be interesting to manufacture it with modern materials and trial it for use on people with missing toes."

Source: Press Release. Faculty of Life Sciences/The University of Manchester

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


A short history of canine shooting incidents

Aug 6, 2007 Memphis man recovering after dog accidentally shoots him in the back

The shooting happened around 2:30 Thursday morning in the 3800 block of Kerwood. When police officers arrived, they found a man shot in the back. According to witnesses, the dog, a Great Dane, was playing in a front room when the "dog" knocked a gun off of a table. The gun discharged and the bullet ended up hitting the owner in the back.


September 16, 2005 Dog shoots man

TUSSLE over prey between a Bulgarian hunter and his hound ended when the dog shot the man. The man lost his temper and began beating his Deutsch-Drahthaar hunting dog with a rifle when the animal refused to release a killed bird it had brought back. But the dog's paw caught the trigger and the hunter was blasted with buckshot. The extent of his injuries was not reported - but local media said the dog injured a paw.


Sept. 21, 2004 Puppy shoots Florida man, deputies say dog put paw on gun's trigger as owner tried to kill him

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver’s trigger. Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist. Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn’t find them a home, according to the sheriff’s office.


6 nov 2003 Dog shoots man

A FRENCH hunter was shot by his dog, police said yesterday. The man left a loaded shotgun with two dogs in the boot of his car. One dog stepped on the trigger and shot the man in the hip. The hunter, from the Basque village of Espelette, was in hospital with shot wounds.


25 Oct 2002 Hunter shot in the foot by his dog

By Associated Press,

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. -- Pheasant season took an ugly turn for Michael Murray when he was shot by Sonny, his year-old English setter pup. Murray, 42, was hunting in western South Dakota on the first day of the season last Saturday. He said he was lining up a photo of the seven birds his hunting party shot in the first hour. A loaded 12-gauge shotgun lay on the ground near the frisky dog."He stepped on the gun and it went off," Murray said. "At first I didn't know what happened. I got that blinding flash of pain and I sat down. Blood was pumping out of my ankle."

After 15 stitches and a night in the hospital, Murray is on course for a complete recovery."It was the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me," he said. Murray admits there is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with getting shot by your dog. "That's the hard part, talking to people, because you feel like such a fool," he said.

11 December, 2000 Dog shoots man

BBC graphic

A New Zealand hunter has been shot by his own dog, proving that canines are not always a man's best friend. Kelly Russell was tracking wild pigs on Sunday with Stinky and two other dogs when the accident happened near Tokoroa on North Island. Having cornered one of his prey, Mr Russell put down his loaded shotgun - but in the ensuing commotion Stinky jumped on it, blasting a shot through the hapless hunter's foot. Mr Russell, 30, then endured a five-hour wait before help happened to chance by in the shape of a passing car. "There was a big bang and my leg went flying back," the 30-year-old logger said on Monday from Waikato hospital...Doctors give the foot only a 50-50 chance. Source:

August 18, 1999 Dog shoots man

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - A German dog has shot and killed its owner, police said Wednesday. The 51-year-old man, who had been out hunting with his shotgun, was found dead beside his car near the southwestern town of Bad Urach Monday. Police ruled out suicide and foul play and said the gun must have gone off when the dog jumped on top of it on the car seat.