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Why spike-tailed animals went the way of the dinosaurs

The bony tails sported by some dinosaurs made formidable weapons capable of bringing down massive predators—yet today virtually no animals have tails that double as weapons. That may be because their evolution took place alongside three traits rarely found together: large bodies, body armor, and plant-eating, The New York Times reports. To come up with the traits, researchers analyzed the characteristics of more than 280 animals, living and dead, they write this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Their new work may explain why bony tails have gone the way of the dinosaurs. 

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