American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A compound bone between the tibia and the toes of a bird's leg, formed by fusion of the tarsal and metatarsal bones.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The single compound bone of some animals, especially birds, resulting from the combination of tarsal and metatarsal bones in one. This formation occurs in all birds and probably some reptiles. In the former the three principal metatarsal bones fuse into one, the fourth metatarsal remaining distinct or only incompletely joined to the rest; and to the proximal extremity of the compound metatarsal thus formed are also ankylosed the elements of the distal tarsal series. The result is similar to that seen in the compound cannon-bone of hoofed quadrupeds, though this has no tarsal elements. The tarsometatarsus is a comparatively large stout bone, extending from the heel or suffrago to the bases of the toes, It corresponds to that part of the foot commonly called the tarsus in descriptive ornithology, and is usually naked and scaly, though sometimes feathered. Its proximal extremity usually presents a large bony protuberance (the so-called calcaneum or hypotarsus), perforated for the tendons of certain muscles, and the distal extremity is divided into three prongs (two in the ostrich), each bearing an articular surface for one of three toes (the first toe, or hallux, when present, being differently attached to the foot by an accessory metatarsal). The bone is nearly always compressed, or of less width than depth; but in the penguins it is broad from side to side and shows two fontanelles, or vacant spaces, indicating its triple composition. It is often called simply metatarsus, its tarsal elements being ignored. See also cut under
- n. The large bone next the foot in the leg of a bird. It is formed by the union of the distal part of the tarsus with the metatarsus.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Anat.) The large bone next the foot in the leg of a bird. It is formed by the union of the distal part of the tarsus with the metatarsus.
“We also found an assortment of gull bones, including a nice tarsometatarsus, a cervical vertebra, and a dorsal vertebra, along with what appears to be the synsacrum and incomplete pelvis of a cormorant.”
“They all have a strongly hooked bill, a simple, block-like hypotarsus (a site of ligament attachment on the posterior surface of the tarsometatarsus), distinctively proportioned toe bones, and a laterally compressed, strongly curved and sharp-tipped claw on the second toe (discussed previously here).”
“A mammalian convergence on the avian tarsometatarsus.”
“Hoazinoides from the Miocene of Colombia, known from a partial skull, seems to have been very similar to Opisthocomus while Onychopteryx from the Eocene of Argentina is known only from a partial tarsometatarsus and hence is not too informative.”
“But its markedly slender tarsometatarsus indicates that it was gracile, and thus almost certainly not as heavy as the far more robust giant aepyornithids (aka elephant birds, restricted to Madagascar bar a few dubious reports from continental Africa and elsewhere) and dromornithids (aka mihirungs, an Australian group argued to be giant waterfowl).”
“We’re not actually sure what Stigogyps is (though its tarsometatarsus is similar in some details to that of a trumpeter), but its re-evaluation strikes phorusrhacids off the list of European fossil taxa.”
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