Most mammals have neurons in their spinal column, stomach and other locals, not just in their brains. It would stand to reason that some animals with tails will have some neurons in their tails since the spinal cord is all connected to the back-bone and central nervous system. It would make sense also then that the mammals with the longest tails will have a greater chance for neurons in their tails, and also more neurons in the tails of those mammal species that do have neurons in their tails. Let’s discuss this.
I would like to use the Cheetah as an example in that Cheetahs seem to have neurons in their tail, as the tail has memory (more than just muscle memory, although it does have a significant muscle system in its tail), and is used as a balance whipping around as the Cheetah makes impossible break-neck speed turns and changes direction to chase down its prey. Read; “Balance in the cat: role of the tail and effects of sacrocaudal transection,” by Curt Walker, Charles J. Vierck Jr., Louis A. Ritz, 1997.
In humans our spinal cord goes from the base of the skull down to our tailbones. In the H-shaped area of the spinal vertebra neurons are present. Sensory neurons interact with motor neurons by way of internerurons – we see this in our reflexes. When a Cheetah is able to whip its tail around at super high-speeds for balance it appears to have all that taking place by reflex, which the Cheetah could control by way of purposeful motion just as a horse can swat flies on its rump with its tail.
Let me digress for a moment and explain a reptile species. Even more interesting perhaps is the reality that the Gecko lizard sheds its tail upon being captured by a predator, and the tail keeps wiggling as a decoy keeping the predator busy, thinking it still has its prey and thus the Gecko continues to run away, living to fight another day. Read an article in Discovery News; “Gecko Tail Preprogrammed to Fool Predators,” by Jennifer Viegas published on September 9, 2009.
You know it sure seems that evolution will find the best strategies to solve problems, especially ones which concern life and death matters, thus allowing members of the species to procreate its next generation and go on as a species, inability to solve such problems – overtime – mean that species will not go on. The ability of a Cheetah to catch its prey and eat is a matter of life and death, and I hypothesize that evolution has given this species neurons in its tail to allow it to turn on a dime at speeds of up to 60-mph, and it has neurons in its tail that better allow it to do just that. Please consider all this and research it if you are able.