pentadactyl limb A limb with five digits, characteristic of tetrapod vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). It evolved from the paired fins of primitive fish as an adaptation to locomotion on land and is not found in modern fish. The limb has three parts (see illustration): the upper arm or thigh containing one long bone, the forearm or shank containing two long bones, and the hand or foot, which contains a number of small bones. This basic design is modified in many species, according to the function of the limb, particularly by the loss or fusion of the terminal bones.
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