It's been a while since we last heard about a dolphin getting fitted with an artificial tail, but it looks like Fuji
finally has some new bionic company, with Winter the dolphin now starting to get used to a prosthetic tail of its own. Unlike Fuji, Winter lost her both her tail flukes and her peduncle, which posed additional problems for the team of researchers that developed the tail, ultimately requiring them to "MacGyver
" one as they went along (a term the researchers themselves used to describe it). While it's apparently not perfected just yet, Winter has started to learn to swim with a prosthetic sleeve, which will eventually be outfitted with artificial tail flukes that could allow it to keep pace with other dolphins. In addition to helping Winter, the researchers behind the tail say that the lessons learned from it could also help human amputees, with the gel sleeve used to hold the tail into place apparently already adapted for use with a human prosthesis.
[Photo courtesy of AP]