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primate tails



Betty Cunningham <bettyc@flyinggoat.com> asked:

> How did the loss of the tails of the very early ancestors of Homo
> sapiens coincide with the steps from arborality >to> biped?

It happened first.  All apes are tailless, and some are still
completely arboreal.

> If we could show that prePrimates lost a prehensile tail quickly we
> could perhaps infer that birds could.

I don't know of any evidence that human ancestors had a prehensile
tail (as opposed to the typical mammalian tail).  The spider monkey's
prehensile tail is a derived feature.

All the best,

Bill Adlam
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