One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in the legs of many mammals, birds, and dinosaurs) a ridge at the front of the head of the tibia or tibiotarsus to which the main extensor muscle of the thigh is attached. It is particularly well developed in running species.
- ‘The cnemial crest is a rather enormous proximal extension of the tibiotarsus and sticks out beyond the distal end of the femur.’
- ‘The tibia has an L-shaped distal articular surface (since it articulates with two tarsals) and a cnemial crest’
- ‘Both are broken near mid length, below the cnemial crest.’
- ‘A cnemial crest extends along the dorsal surface of the proximal end of the tibia.’
Late 19th century: cnemial, from Greek knēmē ‘tibia’ + -al.
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