Why Do Animals Have Tails

Tail of Cat

We openly see tails in almost all animals that include mackerel to monkeys, howvever, not in humans and some other apes, let me define first, What is Tail?, Tail is that section of the body which is located at the rear end of the body and in general refers to the distinct, flexible appendage to the torso. The feature is most common invertebrates and even in some invertebrates like scorpions and springtails, snails and slugs. Tails in the animal’s species are also referred to as “caudate” and the part of the body with which they are associated are known as “caudal”.Also, it’s not necessary that tail should be long enough, in case of a snake it would consist of a small portion of the rear end of its body.

Why Do Animals Have Tails?

Animal species in the wildlife use tails for different purposes.

  • The tail of fish is used for the locomotion to repel water that helps them in moving from one place to another, however, the shape of the tail varies in different species of fishes.
  • Coming to the land animals, Cats use their tails for balance while they are running and jumping walls. The tail also used by some species to brush away flies and other biting insects.
  • Monkeys and opossums have prehensile tails which mean they are adapted to grasp or hold objects. This kind of tails can easily hold objects that help them in finding and eating food in the trees.
  • Tails are also used to give a social signal in case of a deer herd. There are some deer species that used to flash the white underside of their tails to warn the closest deer of the possible danger.
  • Beavers used to slap water for social signalling in case of danger.
  • Canidae, a biological family of dogs like carnivorans that includes domestic dogs as well used their tail to indicate emotions through the positioning and movement of their tails.
  • There are some species whose tails are armoured and contains poison including scorpions.
  • There are some species of lizard that can detach tail from their body, it will help them in running from predators or can be easily distracted by the wriggling. It will grow back to normal in some time.
  • Birds too have tails, however, they are enclosed within long feathers called rectrices. This will help birds steer and manoeuvre in flight. Also, it will help in balancing while they are perched. There are few exceptional birds like birds of paradise, lyrebirds, and peafowl has an important role during courtship displays.
  • Let talk about the grazing animals like horses, they are used to sweep away insects and positioned. Also, they will help these animal species to show physical or emotional state.

Also Read: What is Biodiversity and Why it is so Important for Humans

Tail of Cat

Why don’t humans have tails?

It’s true that humans don’t have tails, howvever, it has been seen that Human embryos have a tail that measures around one-sixth of the total size of the embryo. After some time, the same embryo will develop into a fetus and later the tail is absorbed as the body grows. There are few cases where the child is born with a ’”soft tail”, however, this is regarded as as an abnormality rather than a vestigial true tail. Let us talk in detail, Humans belong to the same group of the great apes and same goes with chimps, gorillas and orang-utans who dont have tails. Even fewer apes, Gibbons dont have tails because they are using arms to swing from branch to branch in the treetops of south-east Asian forests. Also, the cab walks on tree branches by using their arms to balance.

Also Read: 10 Beautiful Birds Of Brazil

Humans walking gives us many advantages compared to the four-legged animals because they need to use their every at every step they take to move forward. the two legs of humans take advantage of gravity which does some works for us. Whenever we take one step forward, gravity also pulls us forward. The overall result is that humans used to 25% less energy compared to animals species who are walking on all four legs. This is the primary reason nature eliminates the need for a tail in case of humans.

Featured Image Source: blhphotography

Written by Kan Dail