According the help file:
Animation Offset—Lets you specify the number of frames by which each source object duplicate's animation is offset from the previous duplicate. You can use this feature to produce wave-type animation. At the default setting of 0, all duplicates move identically.
However, in practice I can't seem to get this to do anything at all. I am using an instanced cone with an animated bend modifier as my scattered object. When I attempt to offset the animation however it does nothing? In fact if I offset the animation past 2 all the scattered objects dissapear.
Thanks in advance,