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Building 3D prosthetic beak for Karl, a hornbill

When it comes time to eat, Abyssinian ground hornbills pick up prey with their beak, toss it into the air and swallow it whole. But for Karl, the Zoo’s hornbill, eating was a challenge due to his worn down lower beak. To build a newer, stronger, better prosthetic beak for him, Zoo staff worked with museum specialists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The skull of a hornbill who lived at the Zoo in the 1930s was exactly what animal keepers, veterinarians and exhibit specialists needed to engineer a 3-D printed beak. Now, Karl can once again use his natural behavior to eat and keep his belly full

 

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