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Poems and Thoughts    by Frank Maurer

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I. Human-caused Evolutionary Changes.
Tuskless Female Elephants in Mozambique.

Wars cause many changes, but tuskless elephants?
The 15 year war in Mozambique, caused culling for ivory.
Almost all (90%) of the elephant population was destroyed in
Gorongosa Park, just to finance senseless human warfare.
Half of the surviving females were tuskless;
Before the war, fewer than a fifth lacked tusks.
The tusks are used to dig for water, strip bark, and joust.
Now tuskless individuals feed mostly on grasses,
Whereas those remaining with tusks eat legumes and tough woody plants.
This is a major change in food preference!

The dominant gene for tusklessness is carried on the X chromosome,
So only one X chromosome needs to carry the gene--
And remember that female mammals have two X's.
But when the affected X is passed to a male with one X and one Y,
That single X is basically lethal and may be the one
To affect male development and thus early embryonic death.
The general thought is that evolution takes a long time,
But here we see major relative change within a 15 year time span!
The tuskless surviving females gave birth to daughters, about half being tuskless.
And because of the lethal gene on the X, two-thirds of their offspring were female!

These results show how human activity
Can have a major influence on the evolution of other life forms.

Frank Maurer 14 July 2023 1600 Hours.

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