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  1. (anatomy) A small bone (or bony structure), especially one of the three of the middle ear.
The incus is one of the three auditory ossicles.
  • 1836: The eyeballs were surrounded by a ring of bones, the sclerotic , which probably protected their eyes when diving abruptly for prey. — William Buckland, Geology and Mineralogy, Considered with Reference to Natural Theology, vol. 1, William Pickering, 1836, p. 174
    1. (zoology) Bone-like joint or plate, especially:
  • one of numerous small calcareous structures forming the skeleton of certain echinoderms, as the starfishes;
  • one of the hard articuli or joints of the stem or branches of a crinoid or encrinite;
  • one of the several small hard chitinous parts or processes of the gastric skeleton of crustaceans, as in the stomach of a lobster or crawfish.
  • The skeleton of echinoderms is made of ossicles, linked to each other via muscles and connective tissue.
      Etymology: Late 16th century from Latin ossiculum ("little bone", "ossicle") from os ("bone").

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