Scientists in the Field
Spiral Notebook
3-D Printed Jaw Gives New Life to Injured Sea Turtle
by Lily Kessinger
June 18, 2015
 
3-D Printed Jaw Gives New Life to Injured Sea Turtle
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Many people will probably head to the beach this summer for some swimming and relaxation to find the beaches crowded with other people looking to do the same. And while a visit to the ocean can be a fun way to escape the hot temperatures, it is also home to countless species of marine life, such as sea turtles, that are affected by detrimental human behaviors.

In Sea Turtle Scientist, author Stephen R. Swinburne asks, “Are twenty-first-century pressures—a polluted and plastic-filled ocean, the loss of nesting beaches, the poaching of eggs and slaughter of adults, the risk of drowning in nets—overwhelming the marine turtle population?”

With all seven species of sea turtles either threatened or endangered, marine turtles are in dire need of our help. Just this past May in Turkey, a loggerhead turtle received a working prosthetic jaw made from a 3-D printer after being hit by a boat’s propeller. You can read more about the amazing operation and even watch a video of the loggerhead using his new jaw here.

Unfortunately, not every sea turtle can be rehabilitated by 3-D printing, but you can do your part to help all marine life by cleaning up beaches, carrying a reusable bag when you or your parents go shopping, and buying sustainably harvested sea food. To learn more about these incredible creatures, the dangers they face, and how to help save them, be sure to check out Sea Turtle Scientist by Stephen R. Swinburne.

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