Elephant gets steel-fortified supertusks

The new grill on Calgary Zoo's Spike is surely the envy of the other elephants.

No, Spike, I won't be messing with your giant metal tusks. Calgary Zoo

Genesha, who goes by Spike, is a playful Asian elephant who lives at the Calgary Zoo in Canada. Not long ago, he broke one of his tusks above his old cap (which he'd been wearing since 2002) while playing too vigorously with a tire. To prevent further damage to the tusk, and to prevent infection, he was fitted with new, larger dental caps.

But these caps are stainless steel and weigh in at more than 46 pounds each, and break the record for largest dental caps that had been held by their predecessors. They were designed by students at SAIT (South Alberta Institute of Technology) Polytechnic's school of manufacturing and automation. The engineering was a challenge they were happy to accept as a test of how targeted manufacturing can be applied to unique situations requiring an uncommon solution.

They're meant to be permanent caps, something the 29-year-old elephant can keep forever no matter how rambunctious he gets. And they make him look like an elephant pimp. I can't name another pachyderm with a better grill.

This isn't the first semi-bionic elephant we've had here on Crave. A year ago, we shared the story of Motala , a 48-year-old elephant from Thailand who lost her leg to a land mine and was later fitted with a permanent prothesis. And these add-ons aren't just for elephants, as we've seen various appendages that people affix to themselves. I still like the mermaid the best .

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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