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[Daydream believer] Tuskless elephants and pressures to evolution

Yesterday, before my presentation, there was a virtual safari tour from Kruger National Park in South Africa. Part of the talk was that the number of elephants without ivory is increasing, and when I looked it up, I found it was true! I thought it was one of these fake news, but the poachers are killing the elephants with big tusks, so there are only solid elephants with no tusks left, and the DNA of the big tusks is not passed on to the next generation. I was surprised to see such a significant change in about 50 years.

Please read this National Geographic article for more information, but typically only 4% of female African elephants have no ivory. However, researchers found at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique that 51% of female elephants over the age of 25 who survived the civil war are tuskless. And their daughters obtain the likeliness to be tuskless.

The article says that female elephants in Asia rarely have tusks, possibly due to the long history of the ivory hunt in Asia. Perhaps African elephants will follow this path.

I thought 50 years was a short time, but broccoli, canola flower, and cabbage, for example, have all been transformed from the same variety into entirely dissimilar plants through hybridisation. The wild boar in North America is also believed to be a pig originally brought in as a domestic animal but grew tusks when it became wild. Evolution happens much faster than we think.

Climate change adaptation refers to changes in response to climate change within a single individual or society, not across genetics. That is the difference between adaptation and evolution. Suppose the impact of climate change is significant enough to affect the genes we leave behind for the next generation, for example, through human survival or reproduction. In that case, we may be able to see this as human evolution.

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