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The term uniped (from Latin uni = one + ped = foot) refers to a person or creature with only one foot and one leg, as contrasted with a biped (two legs) and a quadruped (four legs). Moving using only one leg is known as unipedal movement. Many bivalvia and nearly all gastropoda molluscs have evolved only one foot. Through accidents (i.e. amputation) or birth abnormalities it is also possible for an animal or a human being to end up with only a single leg.
A contender for unipedal movement is the springtail, which has six legs and is typically hexapedal. However it hurls itself away from danger using its furcula, a tail-like forked rod that can be rapidly unfurled from the underside of its body. The furcula is not a leg, nor is it derived from a leg, but it is a locomotory appendage.
In fiction and mythology
In the Saga of Erik the Red, a native of Vinland who is described as being one-legged kills one of Eric's men (his brother). In the children's fiction book They Came on Viking Ships by Jackie French, a uniped is a one-legged Norse mythical creature that lived in the south of Vinland during the time of the expedition of Freydís Eiríksdóttir.
The sciapod was another mythical one-legged humanoid.
There are also one legged creatures in Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. In The Adventures of Gomby and Son, Gomby meets a traveller at the Forest of Zann who is unileg.
In the Narnia book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis the heroes meet the "Dufflepuds". These are two legged dwarfs who have been rendered one legged by their magical master. He did this to force them to use the water from the stream next to their food garden, rather than walking miles to get the water.
In The Future Is Wild, one of the creatures, the Desert Hopper, is unipedal.
- Kunz 2008, p. 47.
- Freidel et al. 1993, pp.199-200.
- Christenson 2003, 2007, p.60.n.62.
- Christenson, Allen J. (2003, 2007). "Popul Vuh: Sacred Book of the Quiché Maya People" (PDF online publication). Mesoweb articles. Mesoweb: An Exploration of Mesoamerican Cultures. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
- Freidel, David A.; Linda Schele and Joy Parker (1993). Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman's Path. New York: William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0-688-10081-3. OCLC 27430287.
- Kunz, Keneva, trans. (2008). "The Vinland Sagas: The Icelandic Sagas About the First Documented Voyages Across the North Atlantic". London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-140-44776-7.