The metatarsals are the bones in the feet which connect the toes to the middle bones of the foot
. The fifth metatarsal is the one on the outside of the foot, the one which connects the small toe, and is therefore the most at danger from long-term injury.
With proper training, dancing on pointe won't damage the bones of the foot
. George Balanchine once told Hamilton that it takes four years of serious training before a child should be on pointe.
The fossil is unusual because the bones of the foot are whole and attached to each other as they were in life, providing evidence of how the bones moved when the animal walked.
Padian calls the new observation interesting but says that researchers must examine the other bones of the foot to rule out digitigrade motion in pterosaurs.
"Never, never," says Louis Galli, D.P.M., "permit a child to wear a pointe shoe, or even one that resembles a pointe shoe, until the bones of the foot
are sufficiently ossified (hardened) and the supporting muscles of the leg, thigh, hip, and trunk are strong.