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Why no tusks? Poaching tips scales of elephant evolution

Andrew Cuomo

AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have pinpointed how years of civil war and poaching in Mozambique have led to a greater proportion of elephants that will never develop tusks. Like eye color in humans, genes are responsible for whether elephants inherit tusks from their parents. While tusklessness was once a rare trait in African savannah elephants, it’s become more common. That’s because tuskless females are more likely to survive intense poaching and pass their genes to offspring. Scientists have identified two genes that likely play a role in whether or not an elephant inherits tusks. The research was published Thursday in the journal Science.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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