One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a vertebrate limb) having five toes or fingers, or derived from such a form, as characteristic of all tetrapods.
- ‘Others include pentadactyl feet and presence of a clavicle.’
- ‘No single mutation can produce a pentadactyl limb of vertebrate type on a Drosophila.’
- ‘The pentadactyl pattern is a repeated design because it was available.’
- ‘These morphological facts show that the pentadactyl limb arose after the fin-limb transition and is the product of the canalization of the phenotype of the archaic limbs.’
- ‘First, it's quite easy to ‘imagine’ a vertebrate without the pentadactyl pattern.’
Early 19th century: from penta- ‘five’ + Greek daktulos ‘finger’.
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