It’s fascinating how powerful and dynamic nature is. Recently, I read an article about the significant increase of tuskless elephants. This is not due to a genetic anomaly. It’s evolution unravelling before our eyes.
Mozambique was in civil was between 1997 and 1992. This had a tremendous effect in the elephant population. About 90% of the animals perished. Their tusks financed weapons, their meat fed soldiers. Life for these huge beasts wasn’t easier in neighboring Tanzania, as poachers reigned. Elephants were diminishing fast.
In the last 25 years, though, something significant happened: 32% of female elephants at Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park was born without tusks. Additionally, the same trait was observed for 13% of female elephants at Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. Their parents did survive the poachers, because they didn’t have tusks. For comparison, the normal rate of tuskless elephants is 4%. So, there is a significant difference than normal.
Inherited or part of an ongoing evolution? National Geographic’s article describes in detail the scientific findings.
Can’t beat nature
I find this development fascinating. Mainly because evolution was always for me something that took a long time to happen. In contrast, elephants are adapting very quickly to their cruel reality. Hence, they are proving the known phrase: Nature always finds a way.