environment

Under poaching pressure, elephants are evolving to lose their tusks

Written by Dina Fine Maron for National Geographic. [Excerpt] “Their goal is to uncover more information about how these animals move, eat, and what their genomes look like. Long hopes to detail how elephants without the benefit of tusks as tools may alter their behavior to get access to nutrients. Rob Pringle, at Princeton University, plans to look at dung…

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How teeth became tusks, and tusks became liabilities

“The persistence of elephant poaching has prompted researchers to wonder whether elephants really needed their tusks, and whether they might not be better off if the tuskless trait were to spread more widely through the African population.  Shane Campbell-Staton, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues have begun systematically…

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‘This Is Very Alarming!’: Flying Insects Vanish from Nature Preserves

Not long ago, a lengthy drive on a hot day wouldn’t be complete without scraping bug guts off a windshield. But splattered insects have gone the way of the Chevy Nova — you just don’t see them on the road like you used to. Biologists call this the windshield phenomenon. It’s a symptom, they say, of a vanishing population. “The windscreen phenomenon is probably one of the best illustrative ways…

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