Environment

There’s early evidence poaching Is causing Elephants to Evolve Away From Having Tusks

Poachers that kill or maim elephants for their ivory tusks have decimated world elephant populations.

According to new research, that activity has placed such a strain on elephant populations in Mozambique that it’s forcing the hand of evolution. Historically, only 2 to 4 percent of female African elephants were naturally tuskless — and now nearly a third of the population is.

Pachyderm’s Canon

That’s according to as-yet-unpublished research by Joyce Poole, an elephant behavior expert.

Poole told National Geographic that “once there’s been heavy poaching pressure on a population, then the poachers start to focus on the older females as well,” and that over time, “with the older age population, you start to get this really higher proportion of tuskless females.”

Trunk Club

Other researchers have corroborated the phenomenon outside Mozambique. In the early 2000s, according to National Geographic, 98 percent of the nearly 200 female elephants in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park had no tusks.

The phenomenon is a bleak condemnation of the cruelty of poaching — but also a stark example of how pressure on an ecosystem can lead to incredible evolutionary adaptations.

This article was originally published by Futurism.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

This strange, flightless bird evolved into existence twice across millennia
It’s Official: Atmospheric CO2 Just Exceeded 415 ppm For The First Time in Human History
This alien planet has vaporized rare-earth metals drifting through its atmosphere
Biologists discover mystery marine larvae, and they don’t know what they’ll grow into
The UN is very worried that a “radioactive coffin” may be leaking into the ocean

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *