A Game of Tails: MfN scientists uncover the evolutionary driver behind the armored tails of real dragons

Reptiles appear globally – from slow worms in Germany, to dragon lizards in Australia, and Komodo monitors in Indonesia. Despite their variety of body forms and lifestyles, most reptiles have tails, which can be involved in balance and movement or used as a weapon. The latter strategy was employed also by dinosaurs, like Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus, who used their tails as giant spiked weapons. Some species of extant reptiles have also evolved specialized spiked tail scales during their long evolutionary history over millions of years. However little is known about why exactly the tail spikes evolved, and if they are employed as weapons just as in dinosaurs.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft