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Name: Tim Snyder and Marc Realie and Anirban Bhattacharyya
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Question:
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?



Replies:
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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