art student with very little knowledge of biology here. I was thinking about the designs of mythical creatures and I got stuck on the topic of knee directions, and couldn't work out the appropriate terminology to do my own research.

Is there a term for legs that bend towards the head (eg primates and the front legs of horses, cows, goats, etc) or those that bend away (back legs of the above mentioned, dogs, cats, lizards, primate elbows, etc)? Is there a large practical difference in the way these two types work/are used that is more notable than the other differences between types of leg structure?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ cats/horses walk on their toes. the part that bends backwards is the ankle, the knee points forward. $\endgroup$ – Frieke Jul 23 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Robann, welcome to the site. If you could ask one question per post, that'd be appreciated. E.g. "what is the term for legs that bend forward" and "is there a practical difference". $\endgroup$ – Jam Jul 24 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ Also, you should note that (as Frieke has pointed out) the joint in a cat's/dog's leg that looks like a backwards knee is actually its ankle. The knee is further up in the leg and they walk on their toes. See Line of Action: Digitigrade animals don’t have “backward knees”. $\endgroup$ – Jam Jul 24 at 12:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.