Lizard Tails May Grow Back, but They’re Not the Same

Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Oct. 10 2012 4:15 PM

Lizard Tails May Grow Back, but They’re Not the Same Appendage

141146728
A green gecko

Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images.

It's never quite the same after that first one, is it?

Researchers have found that the regenerated tail of a lizard is dramatically different from its original equipment. Some lizards, like the green anole lizard observed in the study, can lose their tails to escape capture by a predator. The tail that grows back, however, is composed of a rod made of cartilage and long muscle fibers that stretch the length of the regrown appendage, not the original design of small bones and short muscles. The teams' findings also suggest nerves from the original tail's stump grow back into the new tail. Although it doesn't have the function of the original, Tail 2.0 is nonetheless the result of genetic skills humans would like to learn more about—especially if scientists could one day be able to use them to treat spinal cord injuries and diseases like arthritis.

Advertisement

So it looks as if this may not be the end of tail.

Videos curated by Slate staff.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 29 2014 3:10 PM The Lonely Teetotaler Prudie counsels a letter writer who doesn’t drink alcohol—and is constantly harassed by others for it.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.