Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Evolution in Reverse"

Gumby the Cat's blog has a great post, it makes interesting reading and certainly should give Natural Selections opponents pause to think. Unnatural Selection describes the impact of hunting on the evolution of a species. The details mentions, the smaller size of Bighorn sheet and Tuskless elephants show what happens when specific characteristics are removed form the gene pool before reaching their full mating potential. I remember tuskless elephants being discussed in a Biology class years ago. They were seen as a sport, a mutation, with little chance of becoming established in the gene pool. Yet in one population in Zambia, they now make up 38%? In another in South Africa and whopping 98%. Incredible!

It shows how a population evolves as the environment changes. Add in hunting and poaching for ivory and what was once a sport may become dominant, because the genes with prized ivory tusks got rarer and rarer as the elephants with them got taken. Read the source article yourself here in Newsweek. While it refers to 'Evolution in Reverse', it's still Evolution. Look at is this way, "Tusks used to make elephants fitter, as a weapon or a tool in foraging—until ivory became a precious commodity and having tusks got you killed."

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