Monday, May 25, 2015

The Million Dollar Turtle and the Glass Eyed Fish

Turtle gets a 3-D printed titanium jaw, now looks like a supervillain
In the latest heartwarming tale of animal prostheses, a Turkish turtle is the lucky recipient of a 3-D printed jaw. According to 3-D Printing Industry, the turtle -- who was injured by a boat's propeller and found nearly dead -- had to be hand-fed until his jaw and beak were replaced with medical-grade titanium.
. . .
The beak upgrade comes courtesy of a Turkish medical 3-D printing company called BTech. The company put the turtle's CT scans into a 3-D modeling program and designed a prosthetic that would fit into the missing piece of its beak. To ensure that the jaw would be just as powerful and functional as a natural beak, the company printed it in medical-grade titanium.

This rockfish was getting bullied for having one eye, so doctors gave it a prosthetic
An aging copper rockfish with cataracts had his left eye surgically removed two years ago at the Vancouver Aquarium. Then, the bullying began. Biologists at the aquarium suspected other fish started picking on the rockfish for only having one eye, so they gave it a prosthetic eye late last year.
Wait a minute. I had (and still have) a cataract, and removal of the eye was never considered a real option. An eye removed is blinder than an eye with a cataract.
Aquarium staff had a few options, including moving the rockfish to a new exhibit and hoping the new fish wouldn't notice the missing eye. Euthanasia was also a possibility. "You just don't want the fish to suffer," Haulena said.

Then, the aquarium team came up with an innovative idea: Outfitting the rockfish with the same kind of fake eye used by taxidermists.

I kind of see the point with the turtle. You have this exotic new technology, and you could test it on a human (and probably have) but along comes a nice story. However, unless it's a rare species, sea turtles aren't exactly uncommon, and saving the life (maybe) of one isn't going to make much difference anyway.

As for the fish? It's just a goddam fish, a popular recreational and commercial species and whether it lives or dies is of little consequence. The Copper Rockfish is predator, and has eaten countless smaller, equally worthy fish on its way to its current state, and for it to fall victim to another predator is just nature in action. Let the aquarium visitors see the truth.

If you really want to help victims, give your free time to the VA or something useful.

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