Elephants in Africa are actually evolving to lose their tusks in order to evade poachers. There were about a million elephants in 1989 when the international ban on ivory poaching was instituted - of that number, about 7.5% of them were being poached each year. Fast forward to today, and fewer than half of them remain. 

The elephants responded to this existential threat by evolving to be born without tusks. Queen Elizabeth National Park researchers in Uganda discovered that 15% of female elephants and 9% of male elephants are now being born without tusks. Experts have theorized that this adaption will make them a less attractive target to poachers, helping them to survive. Unfortunately, elephant tusks are important tools, used for things like digging for roots and to help male elephants fight one another for mates during rutting season. This means that mother nature decided that poachers are a greater threat to elephant survival than tusks being used to find foot or mates.

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Most animals don’t have grandmas. But elephants do. And what Granny does is awesome.

Elephants often live in large families made up of babies, juveniles, and females. They’re often led by the oldest of these females, which often have a really important social role in their families.

Professor Phyllis Lee wanted to know more about how these families worked. And in her research, she found something surprising — having a grandma made a huge difference in whether a new baby survived.

“It was an unexpected finding for us,” said Lee. “We didn’t think we’d find that very positive relationship between having a grandmother present and how well the daughters were doing in terms of reproduction.”

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Impressive Miniature Pencil Sculptures By Cindy Chinn

American artist Cindy Chinn creates whimsical and miniature sculptures composed of pencil lead. To carve the graphite to a desired shape, Chinn uses an Exacto blade and a small needle to remove the bulk. Each sculpture stands less than .25 inches on their own. Under’s Chnin’s limited but necessary tools is a 5x diopter magnifying glass, which is essential to carve each figurine. To create one piece, Chinn takes anywhere between 3 to 4 hours, although other detail-oriented pieces like the minuscule locomotive took 9 hours to complete.

To showcase her impressive tiny pieces, Chinn displays them in a case with their own magnifying glass for inspection. Although, her newfound love for carving pencils came with extreme lessons in artistry, Chinn’s craftsmanship skills have been a topic of discussion and admiration.You can find more of Chinn’s incredible work in her Etsy shop.

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