Please register and log-in to create and edit pages

User Tools

    Please register and log-in to create and edit pages

Site Tools

Main Menu

Main menu
Click categories to expand

Other categories

Also see

Importance Ratingsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigImportance ratings

In a departure from the usual Wiki format, Wikenigma assigns 'Importance Ratings' to some pages.

The idea is to separate articles which are considered (by the editors) to cover exceptionally important unknown issues from those which (although also u…

Newsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigNews

[ newest at the top ]

• Jan 2021 : A milestone of 600 unknown articles has been reached.

• Oct 2020 : A milestone of 500 unknown articles has been reached.

• Aug 2020 : Currently (beta) testing the new 'WYSIWYG' (What You See Is What You Get

Contactsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigContacts

Use this form to send a message to Wikenigma . . . [ * note: all fields must be completed ]

Legalplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigLegal

Content in general

Please note that in common with other publicly editable wikis, this website is not responsible for content posted by the public. Nevertheless, the ongoing editing process should be able to remove unsuitable content in a reasonable time. If you…

Donate/Sponsorplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigDonate to Wikenigma . . .

The best way to donate is by adding new original content !

That can either be by contributing to an existing article, or by creating a new page with an as-yet-unlisted 'Known Unknown'.

Any registered user can create content.

Registerplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigRegistration

At present, only registered users can create and edit articles.

If you'd like to register as a contributor, please request a password.

When filling in the form, make sure you supply a valid e-mail address, as the login password will be sent to that addre…

Wikenigma supports:

A-Z listingplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigA-Z listing

This is an alphabetical index of all content pages.

rss / xml feed
sitemap file

Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of the Unknown Science

Tail Weaponisation

Weaponry, for the purpose of combat or predator defence, is one of the most widespread animal adaptations.

A 2018 paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences points out that tail weaponisation (flails, spikes, bats and clubs etc) which is very prevalent in the fossil record, is exceptionally rare in currently living animals.

“Bony structures inferred to be weapons are widespread in the fossil record, appearing in pareiasaurs, dicynodonts, rodents, artiodactyls, perissodactyls and non-avian dinosaurs.
The great phenotypic diversity of weapons in living species is known to be influenced by multiple factors including mating system, intensity of sexual selection, fighting style, body size and mechanical constraints. However, rigorous studies attempting to define common ecological or anatomical correlates of weaponry within a broad phylogenetic framework are lacking and no research to our knowledge has attempted to study weaponry broadly in extinct vertebrates.”

The study suggests that the extinct animals which had significant tail weapons were likely to have had a specific suite of traits :

“[…] including large body size, body armour (in the form of carapaces, osteoderms or spikes), thoracic stiffness and herbivory.”

Given the obvious effectiveness of specially adapted tail weapons, it remains unclear why so few current land animals have them.

See: The evolution of tail weaponization in amniotes Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology., 2018

    Share this page :


Dear reader : Do you have any suggestions for the site's content?

Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.

If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !

Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.

( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)

Show another (random) page