How lizards keep detachable tails from falling off

Lizards are famous for losing their tails, but perhaps the bigger question should be: How do their tails stay on? The answer may lie in the appendage’s internal design. A structure of prongs, micropillars and nanopores holds a lizard’s tail on tight enough to handle most jarring while remaining primed to drop the tail in case of emergency, researchers report in the Feb. 18 Science.

Self-amputation, or autotomy, of a limb is a common defense strategy in the animal kingdom, including for many lizard species (SN: 3/8/21). But it’s a risky plan: A detachable limb brings with it increased risk of accidental loss from small bumps and snags. “It

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