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Who are the elephants living in the hybridization zone? How genetics may guide conservation to better protect endangered elephants

Who are the elephants living in the hybridization zone? How genetics may guide conservation to better protect endangered elephants

By Julie Bonnald, Jose Utge, Mary K. Kuhner, Samuel K. Wasser, Edward Asalu, John Paul Okimat, Sabrina Krief - Science Direct Highlights • 91 individuals were sampled in the Ugandan elephant hybridization zone. • No forest elephants were detected in the sampled forested area. • 81% of the sampled elephants were hybrids. • Hybrids are fertile with 98.6% of hybrids belonging to second generation or more. • Pure savannah elephants seem to originate from the DRC-Uganda border. Abstract After a long-standing debate, African elephants are now considered by the IUCN as two distinct species:...

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Fossil elephant cranium reveals key adaptations that enabled its species to spread across Africa

Fossil elephant cranium reveals key adaptations that enabled its species to spread across Africa

By University of Michegan A remarkably well-preserved fossil elephant cranium from Kenya is helping scientists understand how its species became the dominant elephant in eastern Africa several million years ago, a time when a cooler, drier climate allowed grasslands to spread and when habitually bipedal human ancestors first appeared on the landscape. Dated to 4.5 million years ago and recovered from a site on the northeast side of Lake Turkana, it is the only well-preserved elephant cranium—the portion of the skull that encloses the brain—from that time. It is about 85% intact and holds a...

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More elephants are at risk of conflict with humans than previously thought

More elephants are at risk of conflict with humans than previously thought

By Colorado State Univesity Human-elephant conflict is on the rise across Africa and is a major threat to wildlife conservation. Crops provide a highly nutritious food source, but elephants pursuing that source results in the destruction of farmer livelihoods, erodes human tolerance toward wildlife and manifests in retaliatory violence on crop-raiding elephants. Crop conflict was assumed to be mostly carried out by a select few elephants, but managers have lacked the means to assess this at a detailed level. New research, however, offers a first look at long-term trends in crop-raiding...

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Ivory poaching and the rapid evolution of tusklessness in African elephants

Ivory poaching and the rapid evolution of tusklessness in African elephants

By Shane C. Campbell-Station, Brian J. Arnold, Dominique Gonç`lves, Petter Granli, Joyce Poole, Ryan A. Long and Robert M. Pringle - Science Harvest and poaching of wildlife have increased as the human population and our technology have grown. These pressures now occur on such a scale that they can be considered selective drivers. Campbell-Staton et al. show that this phenomenon has occurred in African elephants, which are poached for their ivory, during the 20-year Mozambican civil war (see the Perspective by Darimont and Pelletier). In response to heavy poaching by armed forces, African...

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