Why do animals have tails?
Name: Tim Snyder and Marc Realie and Anirban Bhattacharyya
We have checked the biology archives for this information.
If animals have evolved so that they have useful characteristics,
then why do animals have tails and what are they used for?
Animals have tails for assisting in balance and steering, propulsion,
grasping, grooming (swatting flies is one example) and for display. One of
the gaudiest tail displays I can think of is the male peacock's tail. Believe
it or not, we still have remnants of tails because or ancestors did. This is
a good example of a useful characteristic (the tail) evolving in our ancestors
but not being retained in the descendants (us!) because of a loss of evolutionary
selective pressure. Because we can modify our environment, it is unlikely that
we will evolve to regain tails! What other uses for tails can you think of?
Michael B Lomonaco
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Update: June 2012