Elephants are evolving to lose tusks following decades of ivory poaching


Biologists, thoughts? Is this accurate?


The way this article puts it, poachers tend to go after elephants with tusks but ignore those without so, as self-preservation mechanism, elephants are doing away with their tusks. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that though.

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I guess I could have read it… :slight_smile:

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You’re gonna need a profile though. I’m pretty sure it’s free.

This is devolution. Loss of information. Yada yada yada. How much do you wanna bet one of the YEC or ID sites will pick this is up and argue about it not being significant evolutionary change even though no one claimed it was. That’s what they did with that population who was found to have a mutation that helped them dive longer and deeper. All their models depend on evolutionary biology. But every time a new discovery is made in evolutionary biology they argue how it doesn’t support “molecules to man evolution” (I was shocked to see that term used on evolution news here recently. There are getting even more hard to tell apart from other creationist organizations). They never take a discovery and address how it fits their model or just praise the progress being made by humankind in our pursuit of knowledge. This is really cool! Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.


Hopefully, but I somehow doubt it.

Especially considering how much they love devolution.

Sadly yes. What’s happening is the poachers are effectively removing the genes which produce larger tusks from the gene pool. What’s left are elephants with the genetic makeup for smaller tusks.

The same phenomenon occurs when humans overfish and take all the larger food fishes from the population. You’re left with a population of smaller fishes which don’t provide the same ROI for commercial fishermen. The good thing is many industries now recognize and have passed certain prohibitions to deal with the problem. That obviously doesn’t apply to the poachers.

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So, that’s what’s going on. Article didn’t really explain it, but I guess that’s to be expected.

But it’s truly horrifying that what used to be only 6% of population is now enough to influence the entire gene pool so much.