THE BIOLOGY OF RODENT TAILS: A STUDY OF FORM AND FUNCTION.
Technical rept. Jan 63-Feb 64,
HARVARD UNIV CAMBRIDGE MASS DEPT OF BIOLOGY
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The anatomy of the caudal vascular systems of diverse rodents is described. There is a complex pattern of arterial supply and venous drainage, which is basically the same in rodents as diverse as squirrels, dormice, heteromyids, and cricetids. Variations of this pattern appear to reflect the relative importance of countercurrent heat exchange between arteries and veins of the ventral surface of the tail and to represent different patterns of venous return of blood. Thus the vascular anatomy exhibits thermoregulatory adaptations in addition to adaptations for the efficient supply of blood to and drainage of blood from the tissues of the tail. It is concluded that the morphology of the tails of rodents exhibits complex adaptation to the functions of the tail in thermoregulation and in locomotion. A complex interaction of environmental factors has affected the evolution and the presently observed adaptations of form to function among rodent tails. Author
- Anatomy and Physiology