Ivory Poaching Driving Evolutionary Change in Elephants
Provided By - Video Elephant on October 25, 2021
Ivory Poaching Driving, Evolutionary Change, in Elephants.
Researchers say that years of civil war
and poaching in Mozambique have led
to elephants that will never develop tusks.
NBC reports that during the civil war,
which lasted from 1977 to 1992, elephants
were slaughtered for ivory to finance the war.
In some regions, like Gorongosa
National Park, nearly 90 percent
of the elephant population was killed.
Evolutionary biologist Shane Campbell-Staton and his team have found that the survivors seem to be increasingly born without the ability to grow tusks.
According to NBC, the genetic trait was once
considered rare in African savannah elephants.
On October 21, the team published
their findings in the journal 'Science.'.
Perhaps more perplexing than the
prevalence of tusklessness, two-thirds
of all offspring are born female.
at Princeton University,
says that the years of unrest , “changed the trajectory
of evolution in that population.”.
Researchers in Mozambique reached
their findings after observing the national
park’s 800 elephants for several years.
Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist
at the University of Washington, said, "when we think about natural selection, we think about
it happening over hundreds, or thousands, of years.
The fact that this dramatic selection for
tusklessness happened over 15 years
is one of the most astonishing findings, Samuel Wasser, Conservation Biologist
at the University of Washington, via NBC