A bearded vulture living in Austria is the world's first bionic bird.
Several months ago, researchers at the University of Vienna succeeded in implanting a prosthesis in the vulture that had had a leg amputated, reports Numerama.
The raptor is a one-year-old female, named Mia.
The success of this operation was decisive because in vultures, the loss of a leg often results in death.
Indeed, these birds use their legs to move, but also to catch and transport food, recalls a study on the subject published on June 11 in the journal
This vulture with a prosthesis is the “first bionic bird” https://t.co/GtWkdOpjrC pic.twitter.com/n88l1OeSBE
- Numerama (@Numerama) June 14, 2021
A prosthesis adapted to the skeleton of the raptor
Mia was assigned to the Bionic Extremity Reconstruction Laboratory at Vienna Medical University.
The researchers then designed and manufactured for the vulture a "specific bone implant that could be connected to the stump surgically," said Oskar Aszmann, co-author of the study.
Bionic reconstruction: New foot for 'Mia' the bearded vulture https://t.co/Tu9ISjCh8D pic.twitter.com/sYjGolYt0o
- Zyite.news (@ZyiteGadgets) June 11, 2021
A new technique called "osseointegration" was used to connect the prosthesis to the skeleton of the bird.
Thus, the new member was fixed to the bone by a titanium link.
Waterproof and dustproof, the prosthesis is made of different layers of materials capable of absorbing shocks.
A rubber surface also allows a better grip on the ground.
The bird has recovered well, making "its first attempts to walk barely three weeks after the operation" specifies the Viennese team.
Mia can now walk and land on her two legs.
The prosthesis does not allow it to grab its prey, but the raptor can still do so with its leg intact.
A few months after the operation, the vulture regained its original health and weight.
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