Elena Ivanova, Kateryna Bazaka and Russell Crawford

As far back as antiquity, materials foreign to the human body have been employed to mitigate and repair damage caused by disease, defect or trauma. Indeed, some 2000 years ago, the Chinese, Aztecs and Romans were already using soft and malleable gold to fill tooth cavities, and high strength, relatively lightweight wood for limb and tooth prosthetics. East African indigenous tribal people and the Indians of Central America used siafu and bullet ants, respectively, as a handy source of emergency sutures. They would apply an ant close to the wound, letting the ant bite into the flesh, and then twist the ant’s head off. The ant’s very strong pincer-like mandibles would hold the wound ...

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