Talpid moles across all northern continents exhibit a remarkably large, sickle-like radial sesamoid bone anterior to their five digits, always coupled with a smaller tibial sesamoid bone. A possible developmental mechanism behind this phenomenon was revealed using molecular markers during limb development in the Iberian mole (Talpa occidentalis) and a shrew (Cryptotis parva), as shrews represent the closest relatives of moles but do not show these conspicuous elements. The mole's radial sesamoid develops later than true digits, as shown by Sox9, and extends into the digit area, developing in relation to an Msx2-domain at the anterior border of the digital plate. Fgf8 expression, marking the apical ectodermal ridge, is comparable in both species. Developmental peculiarities facilitated the inclusion of the mole's radial sesamoid into the digit series; talpid moles circumvent the almost universal pentadactyly constraint by recruiting wrist sesamoids into their digital region using a novel developmental pathway and timing.