Bird Born With Broken Beak Gets Some Much-Deserved Bling
Look out, bananas. Here comes Gigi, the macaw with the world's first titanium beak.
Thanks to a revolutionary procedure, the bird, who was rescued from captivity in Brazil with a beak so malformed she couldn't even eat on her own, is now a ravager of solid food.
This is what Gigi's first beak-full of banana looks like:
The procedure was painstakingly planned by 3D-imaging specialists at the Renato Archer Technology and Information Center (CTI) and led by Dr. Roberto Fecchio, according to a Facebook post from the research hub Ceptas Unimonte.
It's the first time a 3D printer has rolled out a beak made from titanium, industry news site 3Ders.org reports.
Plastic, typically the material of choice for 3D printing, simply wouldn't cut it. Literally. A bird's beak, the website notes, must be dense and strong enough to smash open seeds and tough shells.
Titanium, in addition to being very light and rust-proof, fit the bill.
It wouldn't be the first time 3D printers have thrown out a lifeline to an animal in need. Last year, an endangered loggerhead turtle was outfitted with a titanium jaw by Turkish veterinarians after the 100-pound animal collided with a motor boat. The procedure is credited with saving his life.
The first ever recipient of a prosthetic beak was a bald eagle in the U.S., whose fully functional prosthetic impaler was also billed as a lifesaver after a poacher's bullet shattered her beak.
And now, behold the nut-cracking bionically enhanced macaw - a triumph for veterinary medicine.
Of course, doctors didn't just ensure baby's got beak. But the bling to go with it. Gigi's new bill comes complete with shiny, multi-colored screws to keep everything in one dazzling package.