March 13 - Mr. Stubbs, a 7-foot-long alligator, receives a prosthetic tail after his original one was bitten off eight years ago. Elly Park reports.
For the past eight years, Mr. Stubbs, an 11-year-old alligator has learned to live without his tail after it was bitten off. But that is about to change as scientists of The CORE Institute and Midwestern University took on the challenge of fitting Mr. Stubbs with a prosthetic tail. CORE's Dr. Marc Jacofsky explained the process. SOUNDBITE: Dr. Marc Jacofsky, Vice President of Research and Development and The Director of the Bshri-Core Orthopedic Research Labs, saying (English): "We're able to take a mold of a cadaver alligator tail of the right size and shape for Mr. Stubbs, take a mold of his socket here, and marry the cadaver alligator tail to the socket or a replica, I should say, of the cadaver alligator tail." The team replicated the tail in great detail and also came up with a strapping system to secure it tightly to Mr. Stubbs' body. And so far, the reptile seems to like his new prosthetics. SOUNDBITE: Dr. Marc Jacofsky, Vice President of Research and Development and The Director of the Bshri-Core Orthopedic Research Labs, saying (English): "We were quite surprised, actually, by one, how quickly he adapted to that additional mass and two, the fact that he didn't turn around and try to bite something that was chasing him." The tail reportedly took about three months to make and cost $6,000 US dollars. But perhaps that's a small price when you think that Mr. Stubbs, without a tail and lacking basic swimming skills, was expected to live only 20 years. Now he can can live to a ripe old age of 80.