HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » Elephants Are Evolving Wi...

Mon Jan 14, 2019, 01:16 PM

Elephants Are Evolving Without Tusks Thanks to Poaching


BY MICHELE DEBCZAK JANUARY 14, 2019

Natural selection can take millions of years to shape a gene pool, but in parts of Africa, the extreme pressures of poaching may have changed elephants in just a few decades. As National Geographic reports, more tuskless elephants have emerged in regions where their ivory has made them a target.

Elephant poaching has long been in a problem Africa, but the crisis reached a fever pitch during Mozambique's 15-year civil war. Between 1977 and 1992, 90 percent of the elephants living in the country's Gorongosa National Park were slaughtered for ivory used to fund the conflict.

The diminished numbers aren't the only thing that looks different about Gorongosa's elephants today. Poachers often kill male elephants first because they have bigger tusks, and once they're eliminated, the hunters will go after females. Typically, about 2 to 4 percent of all female African elephants never develop tusksóbut among female elephants that survived Mozambique's civil war, that number is 51 percent. The effects of poaching can also be observed in the next generation. Roughly 32 percent of female elephants born after 1992 are tuskless.

The trend can be seen in other parts of Africa where poaching has ravaged elephant populations. In Ruaha National Park in Tanzania, elephant behavior researcher Josephine Smit has observed that over one fifth of female elephants older than 5 years lack tusks. Tusklessness rates reach about 35 percent in females over 25.

More:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/570702/elephants-evolving-without-tusks-due-to-poaching

2 replies, 323 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply Elephants Are Evolving Without Tusks Thanks to Poaching (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 14 OP
aaaaaa5a Jan 14 #1
50 Shades Of Blue Jan 14 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2019, 01:22 PM

1. This is honestly one of the saddest stories

I have every read on this forum. It literally put a knot in my stomach.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2019, 01:41 PM

2. Damn...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread