from The Century Dictionary.
- Same as
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- adjective Having more that the normal number of
digits; e.g. a polydactylous cat may have six or more toes on its paw.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adjective of or relating to a person (or other vertebrate) having more than the normal number of digits
Sorry, no etymologies found.
It is this hand-like office of the anterior limbs which explains why in some of the polydactylous quadrupeds, such as wolves, lions, dogs, and leopards, there are actually five digits on each forefoot, though there are only four on each hind one.
As to the animals that are not polydactylous but produce few at a birth, or have horns, their dugs are placed in the region of the thighs.
So also no polydactylous animal is furnished with horns.
The mammae are not more than two, because this animal has only a single young one at a birth; and they are not placed in the region of the thighs, because they never occupy that position in any polydactylous animal such as this.
But such as are polydactylous and without horns, though they too are of dwarf-like shape, are so in a less degree; and therefore the greater growth of the lower parts as compared with the upper is also small, being proportionate to this smaller deficiency.
For if they had they would not be polydactylous, but the divisions of the foot would only extend to that amount of its breadth which was covered by the huckle-bone.
For in polydactylous quadrupeds the fore-feet are intended not merely to support the weight of the body, but to serve as hands.
On the other hand, it is elongated in all polydactylous animals.
It is true that in the smaller polydactylous quadrupeds the hind feet also have each five toes.
Not but what even among quadrupeds there is at any rate a tendency for such as are polydactylous to use their forefeet not only for locomotion but as hands.