Feathers and wings
It is quite fascinating that we also possess a cock’s comb, crista galli, from Latin gallus = cock. It rises as a comb from the ethmoid bone. This sieve-shaped bone constitutes the uppermost part of the nasal septum, and the olfactory nerves pass through it into the cranium. If the nose receives a strong punch, the cock’s comb may be displaced inwards thereby causing damage to the brain (5).
Moreover, not only birds have feathers. In humans, skeletal muscles may be classified as spindle-shaped (fusiform), uni- or bipennate. Pennatus is Latin for «feather-shaped». «Pennate» denotes the attachment of the muscle fibres at the tendon, like the barbs on a feather shaft (3).
And when it comes to wings, we have several of them! For example, there are the nose wings, the alae of the nose, from Latin ala meaning «wing». The wings of the nose may be elevated by the muscle with the convoluted name of levator anguli oris alaequae nasi. And several bones are equipped with wings. This is the case with the above-mentioned crista galli and the ploughshare-bone vomer, as well as the iliac and sacral bones.
But the most extensively winged bone in our body is undoubtedly the sphenoid bone, which has two pairs of wings, namely the two greater and the two lesser wings, in addition to a paired pterygoid process. The latter owes its name to a Greek word for wing, pteryx, a distant relative of Norwegian «fjær» (6) (and English «feather» – comment added in the English version of the article). The same word is also the origin of the expression pterygion or pterygium, designating a reactive connective tissue proliferation in the conjunctiva, which can grow as a wing-shaped extension onto the cornea and impair the vision.