9 May 2019

African elephants are evolving without tusks because of poaching

Post by Editor

At the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa, it has been noticed that elephants are evolving and losing a noticeable feature. That is their tusks. Due to the prevalence of poaching, elephants are losing their tusks so as to survive. Poachers have placed a substantial amount of pressure on these elephants that artificial selection is making them lose these tusks. Instead of a tusk being used as a necessity for elephants in Africa, due to poaching, it has become a liability. Those elephants with tusks are getting killed first. The way these works is that as more elephants with tusks get killed, the ones that survive are the tuskless ones and when they breed, they pass on their tusklessness to future generations. When poaching decreases, tuskless elephants are expected to decrease.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tusks are one feature elephants usually have but in the Gorongosa National Park, in Mozambique, Africa, many elephants are seen doing without having them.
  • Researchers have come to believe that elephants are now evolving without having tusks because this makes them less likely to be killed by poachers.
  • The leading hypothesis for this conjecture on tuskless evolution is that poachers have been putting a lot of pressure on elephants and so they respond in kind.

“It’s rare to see a tuskless male elephant because in the absence of poaching, males naturally grow larger tusks, since they use them more.”

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/african-elephants-are-evolving-to-not-grow-tusks-because-of-poaching/

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