Scientists create prosthesis for tailless dolphin

Scientists create prosthesis for tailless dolphin
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - A prosthetic specialist who travels the country tackling the toughest human amputation cases is helping a dolphin learn to swim with an artificial tail.

Winter the dolphin lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. A fisherman found her in 2005 tangled in the buoy line of a crab trap in Indian River Lagoon near Cape Canaveral. The line cut off the blood supply to her tail and it slowly fell off.

Kevin Carroll is the specialist working to keep Winter swimming. Among the challenges he faces is figuring out how to keep the prosthesis from sliding off. A dolphin's tail creates enough force to propel a 400-pound animal out of the water and 10 feet into the air.

Researchers say the project will give them a better understanding of dolphin physiology. They also hope lessons will be learned that will help human amputees.