As embryos, all
vertebrates develop a tail yet its fate and function are varied.
Some vertebrates (e.g. humans) resorb the embryonic tail, others
(e.g. frogs) resorb the larval tail during metamorphosis. Most
vertebrates retain and restructure the tail for use during later life
stages where it may serve a variety of functions including
locomotion, balance, enegy storage and predator defense. For
those vertebrates that retain a tail throughout adulthood, the process
of tail elongation usually terminates. However, axial elongation
has been documented to continue through adulthood in several salamander
genera. We are interested in exploring the problems that need to
be solved to add tail segments to post-embryonic vertebrate tails.
We are also interested in analyzing tail anatomy throughout
embryonic, larval, juvenille and adult stages.
Currently much of our
work is focused on the four-toed salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum.
However, we also work with a variety of other salamander species.
Feel free to contact either Dr. Babcock or Dr. Hurney for more
Sharon K. Babcock (Dr
Babcock's Faculty Page)
Carol A. Hurney (Dr
Hurney's Faculty Page)