Evolution of Tuskless Elephants: Gorongosa National Park


    In News 

    • In the Gorongosa National Park, evolutionary trends were witnessed which led to the more tuskless female elephants.

    Key Points

    • During the Mozambican Civil War (1977-1992), the elephant population in the east African country fell by 90 per cent due to poaching for the thriving ivory trade.
    • As the population recovered, naturally tuskless female elephants became a common sight in the Gorongosa National Park.
    • Reasons for Tuskless Female elephants
      • Researchers have sequenced the genome of tuskless and tusked elephants to deduce two genes responsible for this,  first is MEP1A, whose roles include the formation of enamel.
      • The second is in the X chromosome, called AMELX. This gene is located close to other crucial genes, which are necessary for the survival of males or the Y chromosome. Mutation in this gene affects these other genes as well, causing the death of the Y chromosome.
      • As a result, female elephants in Gorongosa can produce both tusked and tuskless female offspring, but only tusked male offspring. 

    Gorongosa National Park


    • Southern end of the Great African Rift Valley in Mozambique, Southeast Africa. 
    • It is a more than 4,000 km square park comprising the valley floor and parts of surrounding plateaus. 
    • It encompasses savannas, woodlands, wetlands, and a wide pan of water called Lake Urema.
    • Gorongosa was once a hunting reserve, and in 1960, it was first designated a national park.