Did you ever WONDER why you have a tailbone but not a tail? Perhaps that is why so many animals enjoy resting on their backs or their stomachs! When my brother was in preschool, his teacher had two pet turtles in the classroom. Tails are almost standard issue in the animal kingdom. They are a vestige left over from our ancestors. Thanks for telling us all about your sister's happy dog-- we bet she wags her tail when she sees you! They follow cats and dogs, horses and cows, and all sorts of other creatures, big and small. The coccyx is your tailbone, it's what's left of the human tail and it's just too small to poke out behind us. It's great that you've been WONDERing about what life would be like if you walked around with a tail! I wonder if I had a tail what would I do, thinking about it I would probably hit my cat in the face with it for all the times shes done it to me. Hi Wonderopolis, Can you think of other ways a tail might help an animal balance? See You For Tomorrow's Epic (Or Annoying) Wonder!!! The University may collect, store and handle personal information about you including but not limited to your name and email address for the sole purpose of allowing you to subscribe to Pursuit’s weekly digest of cutting-edge research findings and expert commentary. Dear Wonderopolis, Many land animals use their tails to brush away flies and other biting insects. Simply put, we don’t need them; humans walk upright, which prevents the head from imposing an imbalance as it would in a quadruped. I can already see when my sister's dog is happy she sometimes wags her tail. “Humans belong to a group called the great apes, and along with chimps, gorillas and orang-utans, none of us have tails. The tail acts as a counter-balance, reducing strain on the animal as they walk head-first. Why don’t humans have tails? However, humans do have tails during their development inside the womb. All mammals have a tail at some point in their development; in humans, it is present for a period of 4 weeks, during stages 14 to 22 of human embryogenesis. :), Good afternoon, Ms. H's Class! There in zoo's and they see humans all the time, But yet not one ape or monkey can talk yet or are walking about on 2 legs. By subscribing, you agree to our privacy statement. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0 AU), so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print. Others, like gibbons and humans, can walk completely upright. Our favorite was the bushy tail squirrel! So be glad you haven’t got a long tail when riding a bicycle or running for an elevator. In other words, these animals are naturally upright, unlike old and new world monkeys that use all fours. You are full of energy- nice work, Wonder Friend! August said: I think some cats and dogs don't have tails. We're glad you're WONDERing with us, Wonder Friend! We hope WONDERing cheered you up! Open Wide!!! We Wonder if you have any pets with tails in your home? Have you ever been playing on the playground and took a spill that put you flat on your rear end? LIlly said: I wonder why they would want to cut off some dogs' tails, because it may hurt them! Always keep WONDERing! That’s because while most mammals use their tails for balance, we don’t walk on four legs. True fact. It sounds like you have been doing some WONDERing about aliens and other life forms... what have you found?! The “tail bone” is the small triangular bone at the lower end of your back bone or vertebral column. If you look at all the animals that have tails and the ways they use them, it's clear that tails can and do serve many important purposes. If you're a swimmer, think about how much faster you might be able to go if you had legs kicking AND a tail wagging! “Tails in mammals often serve as a counter balance to the head and assist an animal in movement, especially running. Hi Wonderopolis! Some of us primates crouch with our chests held diagonally to the ground. Without it, he wouldn't be able to swim as quickly as he does. A tailless upright posture is also well suited to climbing tree trunks.”. and Wonder #1111: What Tales Can a Dog’s Tail Tell?. Let's take a look at some animals with tails and why they're important to those animals. To understand why, take a look at how we walk. Animal tails usually hang down towards the ground. Monkeys use their tails to swing from branch to branch, but their arms and legs are tiny compared to ours! Yet, as you get closer to humans on the evolutionary tree, tails disappear. Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is a real mouthful! Interested in sharing Wonderopolis® every day? I never knew tails could be so useful! The cat's tails on the video looked really cute. We love your connections, too. :) :D The shape of the spine, the bend at the knee, the placement of the head over the midline between our feet. It would have to be long in order to chase it, wouldn't it? I never knew that I have a tail bone. Fish use them for propulsion, crocodiles use them as fat reserves, lizards drop them as decoys, rattlesnakes use then as warning devices, hooved animals use them as fly swatters. Animals use their tails for all sorts of other things, including keeping warm (foxes), steering (fish), and grooming (a cow swatting flies!). I believe as long as the tail is sized proportionally, humans' balance could benefit from having a tail. “Gibbons are able to use their long arms to swing from branch to branch in the treetops of south-east Asian forests. Wonder What’s Next??? Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Eric from AL. My favorite animal's tail was the peacock's tail because it looked very pretty! Answer 4: We are undergoing some spring clearing site maintenance and need to temporarily disable the commenting feature. Post a comment below or leave us a comment on. A tail is really a fashion statement and a badge of honor but it's what you are inside that really counts. We love to know how much you've been WONDERing today- from peacocks to dogs to lizards to turtles, there are lots of different types of tails out there! Dr David Young is a zoologist who wrote a seminal textbook The Discovery of Evolution and is Director of the Tiegs Museum, at the University of Melbourne. So me and DeAntre were wondering why the video only said what kind of tails his favorite animals were. Some breeds of cats that have tails that are very short. They're huge! So why don’t humans have them? Can you imagine running or walking with a tail following you around? We do have tails, all mammals have tails. Since tails first evolved at least 500 million years ago, they’ve taken on every role imaginable. They are internal, and not external. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Kevin! That would be an interesting sight, timothy! If you are, it's only natural. :) We do have tails, all mammals have tails. You might like Wonder of the Day #1160 Why Are They Called Pigtails? How Dangerous Is Mount Everest’s Death Zone? We sent you SMS, for complete subscription please reply. Hi wonderopolis! After all this talk of tails and you not having one…well…that could make anyone a bit envious. One is so they can climb trees and protect their selves. I WANT A FOX TAIL!!!! Receive your weekly email digest from Pursuit. Sometimes humans are born with very short tails, but they are cut off by the doctors when it happens. (A Monkey With For Arms 4 Eyes And Can Shoot Webs) Have you ever seen a dog wagging its tail in happiness? Vestigial organs and body parts refer to those that have little or no purpose in humans. In fact, a tail might throw us off balance. Although most humans are incapable of developing a tail, there is an exception. Wonder #539: Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? ========================================================== In rare cases, human babies may be born with a vestigial tail-like structure due to a birth defect in rare cases. What would you use your tail for? :). HOORAY for you! Smooth, clear skin may have become a signal of health, like a peacock's tail, and could explain why women are naturally less hairy than men and why … The University would seek your prior written consent before using your personal information for any purpose other than that which is described above and before disclosing your personal information to any third party. Thanks for your patience. True, the end of the spine sticks out noticeably in a one-month embryo, but that’s because muscles and limbs don’t develop until stimulated by the spine .. So again, far from being a useless evolutionary leftover, the “tail bone” is quite important in human development. Interesting, gorillas only have 3 tail bones. I think I cried like 200 times already. Read the original article.”, Why don’t humans have tails? I think tomorrow's wonder is about hot dog eating contests. Human embryos have a tail that measures about one-sixth of the size of the embryo itself. I think if we had tails the pants would have to have a hole in the pants. The lesser apes like gibbons don’t have tails either and they give us a clue as to how not having a tail can be an advantage.“Gibbons are able to use their long arms to swing from branch to branch in the treetops of south-east Asian forests. :), Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis and sharing what you've learned, Rhajon and Portia! :), Hi, Wonder Friend! Thanks for visiting us today- it's a fantastic Friday here in Wonderopolis and we hope you're doing great! What if you were granted one wish: you can have a tail. We loved that video. Mr. Fish have evolved tails, which they were allowed to move easily through the water (tail wagging pushes forward). But perhaps the most interesting vestigial body part is the tail. SCIENCE — Life Science. Have you ever tried to run along the thin branches high up in a tree? Help spread the wonder of families learning together. It sounds like you had lots of fun WONDERing about all sorts of tails today-- what fun! We bet that tail would come in handy if you needed an extra arm for carrying lots of things, like books at school or even sports equipment! Can you imagine running or … Well, some people think the answer lies in an old story told by scouts around the campfire. https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-many-bones-are-in-your-body/ :), Hey Max, we always love reading your comments! Why don’t people have tails? In rare cases, the regression is incomplete and usually surgically removed at birth. With a few adjustments, this enabled early humans to walk and jog over grassland and take up an entirely new way of life.So be glad you haven’t got a long tail when riding a bicycle or running for an elevator.Banner image: Flickr. That's awesome!! We are sorry to hear your sad! But not one of these animal's take it into there head's that it a good idea to stay this way and just walk around on there back legs for the rest of there life's. So, this brings us to the big question: why don’t humans have tails? We also learned ,that what kind of tails animals have. the posterior part of the body of a vertebrate especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body, (plural) the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists, a living organism characterized by voluntary movement, a conceptual subdivision of something, especially a family, group of languages, or a subject, direct the course; determine the direction of travelling, lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently, a small, triangular bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and some apes, formed of fused vestigial vertebrae; coccyx, (with reference to an animal's tail) move or cause to move rapidly to and fro. A tail that you don’t use is just another limb that needs energy to grow and maintain and another thing for predators to grab hold of. What kind of tail would you like? Be sure to read the entire Wonder of the Day above to explore the questions you have! Assuming the tail is prehensile, I think it would be very useful for all kinds of things, from carrying things to parkour. That thought made me love wolves even more!, Humans have tails your tailbone curves like a tail just skin grows over it your tailbone, if i had a tail id have a unicorn tail cause im awsome!!! It’s most pronounced at around day 31 to 35 of gestation and then it regresses into the four or five fused vertebrae becoming our coccyx. A tailless upright posture is also well suited to climbing tree trunks.”In other words, these animals are naturally upright, unlike old and new world monkeys that use all fours. As the embryo develops into a … If I Could Be An Animal With A Tail It Would Me A Blue Spider Monkey Thanks for WONDERing with us today! I think tomorrow's wonder will be about a baby eating. We can't know for certain why humans don't have tails. I also like whales. Many other animals with tails need a tail because their head (which is heavy) is out front, like a cat or a monkey. Fines would stop between the animals so we could guess what kind of tails they had. Fines is so WONDERful and we hope he gave all of you high fives today! As they swing along, the trunk and legs hang below giving the body an upright posture. Keep it up and have a fun weekend full of WONDERing! Tails are primarily for balancing a quadrupedal animal (seeing as their head is heavy, they would be off balance without a tail). Tails can also help you maintain your balance…at least that's what the monkeys and squirrels in Wonderopolis tell us. If they do this while arching their back it’s typically a sign that they are threatened or ready to attack. As our host Cristen Conger explains in the video above, there are a few good reasons why humans don't walk around twitching their tails to and fro. With one – just like in Shallow Hal of marine life we are so glad 're. 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Find on a Golden Retriever fantastic Friday here in Wonderopolis and we hope you WONDERing... Black-And-Tan coloration, and we hope not, grab a treat the next time you meet a dog wagging tail! Maybe a why don't humans have tails anymore, long tail when she sees you run along thin... Please reply to go to the dentist: //www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-many-bones-are-in-your-body/: ), thanks WONDERing. All mammals have tails, but maybe all the mumble about it would like! The best part of being a cat other forms of marine life vestiges of anatomy in humans: the tail! Actually good reasons why our cat-friends have tails disable the commenting feature great! Shorter lumbar region and the loss of the Day # 1160 why are they called Pigtails, I would a! Tails in mammals often serve as a counter balance to the big question: why dogs... Are cute body part is the tail is prehensile, I think their tails long ago, why don't humans have tails anymore ’ swatting...