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In Greek mythology, the Dactyls were a strange race of creatures associated with the goddess Cybele as well as the Curetes, Cabiri and Korybantes. They were believed to live on Mount Ida in Phrygia and invented the art of working metals into usable shapes with fire. They also discovered iron. The word "dactyl" meant "finger" and refers either to their metallurgical skills or their diminutive stature.

A dactyl is also an element of meter in poetry. In quantitative verse, such as Greek or Latin, a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables. In accentual verse, such as English, it is a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed.

Dactyl is a small asteroid orbiting the larger asteroid 243 Ida as a natural satellite. It was discovered by the Galileo probe. See Dactyl (asteroid).