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Elephants Evolve without Tusks

Rising numbers of female elephants are being born without tusks. Through this amazing twist of evolution these animals will no longer be hunted for their ivory. Which is of course fabulous news- but why do elephants have tusks in the first place? How will these tuskless female elephants fare in their habitats where they use their tusks to forage and defend themselves? Unfortunately the gene changes that are responsible in producing tuskless elephants are fatal to about half of the male offspring.

This is a great topic to discuss with your class, whether studying the evolution topic in Year 6 or looking at how animals are adapted to their environments or threatened by changes to their environments . If you are a member of the ASE you will be able to access an excellent teaching resource that looks at this:

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