A tuskless elephant mom with her two calves in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique (ElephantVoices via AP)

A tuskless elephant mom with her two calves in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique (ElephantVoices via AP)

Biologist Shane Campbell-Staton shows where a tusk would normally be on a tuskless elephant. (Robert M. Pringle via AP)

Biologist Shane Campbell-Staton shows where a tusk would normally be on a tuskless elephant. (Robert M. Pringle via AP)

Elephants eat grass in a reserve near Hluhluwe, South Africa. (AP/Schalk van Zuydam)

Elephants eat grass in a reserve near Hluhluwe, South Africa. (AP/Schalk van Zuydam)

These finches have different size beaks. They adapted to eat different types of food.

These finches have different size beaks. They adapted to eat different types of food.

In the 1800s, England was dark and smoky from factories. Dark-colored peppered moths had a better chance of survival. They adapted to their conditions. (Chiswick Chap/CC BY-SA 2.5)

In the 1800s, England was dark and smoky from factories. Dark-colored peppered moths had a better chance of survival. They adapted to their conditions. (Chiswick Chap/CC BY-SA 2.5)

Who Made the Change?

Posted: January 1, 2022

Over time, a species’ genetics change. Animals adapt to their conditions. That’s not the same as evolution. African elephants may grow fewer tusks. But they’re not changing into a new species.

The theory of evolution says this: Over millions of years, one kind of animal can turn into another. Birds can come from dinosaurs. Humans and monkeys could have come from the same ancestor. But the theory of evolution is just that. It’s a theory. It matches the way many people see the world, especially if they do not believe that God created it.

But God did create all things. And He loves what He made. Adaptation actually shows God’s incredible care for His creatures. He created elephants with the ability to adjust to a new set of circumstances. Isn’t it a mercy that Mozambique’s elephants suddenly have protection against poachers written right into their genes?

We usually think of these types of adaptations happening over a timespan of hundreds or thousands of years. But these elephants have responded to new conditions fast. They have gone more tuskless over just 15 years.

Changes in elephants mean changes for plants surrounding them too. Scientists study the elephants’ poo. It shows elephants have shifted their eating habits. This makes sense. Many of them don’t have long tusks to peel bark from trees.

“The tuskless females ate mostly grass, whereas the tusked animals ate more legumes and tough woody plants,” says Robert Pringle, a biologist at Princeton University. “These changes will last for at least multiple elephant generations.”

He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. — Psalm 147:9