phalanx

(redirected from phalanges)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

phalanx,

ancient Greek formation of infantry. The soldiers were arrayed in rows (8 or 16), with arms at the ready, making a solid block that could sweep bristling through the more dispersed ranks of the enemy. Originally employed by the Spartans, it was developed by Epaminondas of Thebes (d. 362 B.C.). Use of the phalanx reached its apex when Philip II and Alexander the Great used the great Macedonian phalanx (16 deep and armed with the sarissa, a spear c.13 ft/4 m long) to conquer all Greece and the Middle East. Later, the Macedonian phalanx deteriorated and had few Macedonians in it; it was defeated in several battles with the Romans who conquered (168 B.C.) the Macedonians at Pydna. Thereafter the phalanx was obsolete. Because it lacked tactical flexilibity, the phalanx was a better defensive than offensive formation.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Phalanx

 

in anatomy, one of the small tubular bones of the fingers and toes in vertebrates. The structure of the digits in an animal is closely related to the animal’s way of life.

A convenient way of expressing the number of phalanges in the digits is provided by what is called the phalangeal formula, which gives the number of phalanges in each digit, beginning with the first. For the tailed amphibians and for the ancient terrestrial vertebrates known as the Stegocephalia, the number of phalanges in the first through fourth digits of the forelimbs is expressed by the formula 2.2.3.2; for the forelimbs of most tailless amphibians, the formula is 2.2.3.3. The hind limbs of the Stegocephalia and tailless amphibians are characterized by the formula 2.2.3.4.3, and the hind limbs of the tailed amphibians by the formula 2(1).2.3.3.2.

Reptiles have a greater number of phalanges, ordinarily 2.3.4.5.3(4), in both the anterior and posterior extremities; among turtles the number may drop to 1 or 2 per digit. The extinct ichthyosaurs had as many as several dozen phalanges; this hyperphalangia increased the flexibility of the extremity that had been transformed into a fin. In birds the forelimb was transformed into a wing and retained only three digits—the second through fourth. The third digit has two or three phalanges; the second and fourth usually have one rudimentary phalanx each.

Among mammals five digits are most frequently found on both anterior and posterior extremities, and the phalangeal formula is 2.3.3.3.3. The flippers of aquatic mammals (Cetacea) exhibit hyperphalangia. Among flying mammals (Chiroptera) the second through fifth digits are elongated and webbed for flying. The phalanges of the digits of climbing mammals are broadened and are convex on the back side of the extremity and concave on the palm side.

In man each finger and toe, except the thumb and big toe, consists of three phalanges: the proximal, middle, and terminal, or ungual. The thumb and big toe have two phalanges. The proximal phalanges are connected with the heads of the metacarpal bones (in the hand) and the metatarsal bones (in the foot) by means of ball-and-socket joints. The phalanges are connected to each other by hinge joints, which allow the digits to bend and unbend.

N. S. LEBEDKINA


Phalanx

 

a close line formation of the Greek infantry (hoplites) in battle. A phalanx was deployed along the front in eight to 16 ranks, sometimes as many as 25. When a rank comprised 1,000 men, the phalanx could extend for 500 m. It was used as early as the Trojan War but assumed its final form in the sixth century B.C. The formation was refined by Philip II of Mace-don, who added peltasts (seePELTASTS) and cavalry. The large Macedonian phalanx contained 16,384 hoplites, 8,192 peltasts, and 4,096 cavalry.

The main subdivisions of the phalanx were the lochus, consisting of one rank of 16 hoplites, the syntagma, comprising 16 lochi, and the small phalanx, comprising 16 syntagmas. A given maneuver could be executed using combinations of the various subdivisions. The battle formation could also assume various forms, including a square, an echelon unit, or pincers. The phalanx was best suited to frontal attack by hoplites armed with the sarissa, a long pike. The tactical phalanx operated as a single unit and struck with considerable force in a frontal assault. It was relatively immobile, however, and in motion its ranks quickly became disorganized. The formation was used in ancient Rome until the introduction of the maniple in the late fourth century B.C., as well as in later Rome in wars against the barbarians.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

phalanx

[′fā‚laŋks]
(anatomy)
One of the bones of the fingers or toes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

phalanx

1. (in Fourierism) a group of approximately 1800 persons forming a commune in which all property is collectively owned
2. Anatomy any of the bones of the fingers or toes
3. Botany
a. a bundle of stamens, joined together by their stalks (filaments)
b. a form of vegetative spread in which the advance is on a broad front, as in the common reed.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Dorsoplantar radiographs of the pelvic limb, distal joints, and phalanges of the young ostrich at 4 ages: (a) 10 days of age, (b) 20 days of age, (c) 90 days of age, and (d) 135 days of age.
After a short period of wound care and preparation, the distal and middle phalanges and the distal portion of the proximal phalanx were excised and the wound was closed.
The focus is on the 3rd phalanges found in cremation burials, which indicate the cremating of skins along with the bodies.
This study concluded that mini external fixators are an effective and durable treatment of comminuted and open fractures of metacarpal or phalanges bone of the hand with high functional outcome and union rates.
(10.) Kaufmann, H.J.; Taillard, W.F: Bilateral incurving of the terminal phalanges of the fifth fingers.
The phalanges can sustain injury very easily, often as a result of sporting injuries, and need appropriate treatment to ensure that the range of movement remains within functional levels.
There are five fingers: four of them have three phalanges each and the fifth, the thumb, has only two phalanges.
The sophisticated connections between the heads of the DDF muscle are the results of the long and delicate metacarpals, posture of the limbs, and the horizontal position of the last two phalanges. The latter is an important characteristic of llamas, in which the angle between the first phalanx and the ground is approximately 52[degrees] 5.
1 put your right phalanges in, put your right phalanges out,
Each finger has three finger bones called (phalanges).
His nail biting lead to the invasion of bacteria into the tip of distal phalanges (the bone in the finger tip).