RE: Foot anatomy question

To: "Philip Veerman" <>, "Birding-aus \(E-mail\)" <>
Subject: RE: Foot anatomy question
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 16:04:45 +1100
Philip Veerman wrote on Friday, 23 February 2007 12:51 PM:

> Well of the top of my head I'm not up with all those terms but there
> certainly are differences and I'm not sure that these words describe
> them. Where do they come from? Your question may be about birds or
> may be about words.

I think it's about words.  Those words describe the different toe
arrangements, but none seemed to fit a pelican foot.  The books just
call them totipalmate, which is a foot modification, not a toe

> The
> Pelecaniformes have all four toes joined in a web, but that does not
> mean all four toes face forward. The web is very broad and so the
> outer toes (1 and 4) face pretty much inwards and outwards.

So perhaps that counts as two forward and two back.  If so, then it's
either Zygodactyl or Heterodactyl, depending on just which toes are
pointing back.  Could be thumb and next, or could be thumb and last (I
think).  Does anyone know, or do I have to cut one up?

> Zygodactyl is two toes forward and two back, as in parrots, cuckoos
> and owls, although in owls one toe can be either way. Heterodactyl
> would suggest to me variability. As noted in my quiz, mousebirds have
> very mobile toes but I don't know if that is included in the list of
> words.

Why am I interested? Dunno.  It all started with the lores
singular/plural thing, then I just kept reading.

Is it useful? Probably not, but at least I'm paying more attention to

Peter Shute

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