One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(of an animal) burrowing.
- ‘Most mammals employing this behavior are subterranean, rather than simply fossorial; most fossorial mammals are limited to scratch digging.’
- ‘There is considerable behavioral evidence to suggest that certain fossorial mammals do use the seismic channel to glean information about their surroundings.’
- ‘The means of intraspecific communication in the insectivorous fossorial mammals clearly needs to be examined in more detail and is not addressed further here.’
- ‘For instance, because rodents drum with feet that are also used for digging, footdrumming may have originated as a ritualized form of digging behavior, especially in fossorial mammals.’
- ‘The only Australian fossorial mammal is the marsupial mole, Notoryctes typhlops (order Notoryctimorphia, family Notoryctidae).’
- 1.1 (of limbs) adapted for use in burrowing.
- ‘In insects with fossorial legs the fore legs and tibiae are specialized for digging.’
Mid 19th century: from medieval Latin fossorius (from Latin fossor ‘digger’, from fodere ‘to dig’) + -al.
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