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Nature volume 20, pages 509512 | Download Citation



WHAT are tails? The question seems an almost trivia one in its simplicity. Dictionaries tell us that the word “tail” denotes certain parts of animals, and also the hindermost or lowermost portion of anything. We speak habitually of the “tail of a coat,” the “tail end of a crowd,” the “tail of a kite,” and of “pig-tails,” as well as “tails of pigs.” Evidently all these appellations are in use from the perception of more or less close analogies between the various things thus spoken of and certain things which every one who speaks English must call a tail—something which is unmistakably, truly, and properly a tail.

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