How lovely – and how rare

Someone getting a science article right. Even, someone getting evolution right – nearly.

It’s a development that would have delighted Darwin.

African elephants are losing their tusks in an astonishing example of evolution by natural selection which protects them against ivory poachers.

Until the 1990s, around 2,500 elephants lived in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique,

but 90 per cent were killed during the 15-year civil war which raged from 1977 to 1992 – with their ivory used to finance weapons.

Now scientists have noticed that nearly one third of the female elephants born since the war have lost their tusks.

Normally fewer than four per cent of a population are born without tusks, but because tuskless animals were ignored by poachers, they gained a biological advantage and…

The decision isn’t tusk, no tusk, for the infant, It’s that the tuskless are still there to pass on their genes. But it is nice to see someone getting much of it right, isn’t it?

10 comments on “How lovely – and how rare

  1. Slightly OT but according to recent begging ads, from the likes of WWF, elephants are “Man’s oldest friend”. I always thought that was a dog?

  2. Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
    G. not K. Marx

  3. I suspect they are not “losing their tusks”, the Darwinian process has been given a bit of a hand by lots of greedy bastatds with AK47s. What you are seeing is a replacement by the only surviving elephants viz. those with no tusks…

  4. Greedy bastards with AK 47s are still the environment that does the sorting of genes for reproductive fitness…..

  5. @JuliaM January 12, 2019 at 11:46 am

    They aren’t much good as pets either.

    Imagine an elephant-flap in your back door

  6. I’ve seen an annoyed elephant on the charge, it was a very, very, scary event.

    When I was working in SA my family came down and we went to the Kruger National Park with friends. We paid for a professional tour in one of those vehicles with the raked seats.

    The warden/guide heard on his radio where there was an male elephant so we went to see it. He was complaining about the cars that didn’t know procedures and were blocking each other’s escape. I noticed the the elephant’s ears started flapping and asked how you know when one’s going to charge. We were about 75m to 100m away when the elephant started to charge, but as I was asking the question the driver was setting of in reverse as fast as he could.

    How nobody got killed was a minor miracle because some of the cars couldn’t get out and the elephant would have trampled them if they’d been in the way. It was starting how fast it was.

    I’ve always had a healthy respect for wild animals, that just confirmed it.

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