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Definition of Tuskless

From the elephant glossary Section: elephant anatomy

Tuskless female elephant Sabi in Vienna Zoo in 2006, just before departure to Halle Zoo. Photo: *JUTTA
Tuskless female elephant Sabi in Vienna Zoo in 2006, just before departure to Halle Zoo. Photo: *JUTTA
Tuskless female elephant Sabi in Vienna Zoo in 1998. Photo: *JUTTA
Tuskless female elephant Sabi in Vienna Zoo in 1998. Photo: *JUTTA

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Asian elephants

Asian female elephants are normally tuskless, while tuskless males occur locally, especially in Sri Lanka. Tuskless Asian male elephants are called Makhna in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and Sidor or Sedor in Thailand.

African elephants

Tuskless male African elephants are extremely rare, while tuskless females inherit this through genes in their X-chromosomes, which are lethal for males.

Still, even if Tuskless males are uncommon in Africa, recently the percentage of African elephants that do not develop Tusks has been steadily increasing in many regions, suggesting that some varieties of the African elephant are losing the tusk as an evolutionary mechanism against Poaching. (Christina Larson)

Records about Tuskless from the Gajah Glossary at https://www.asesg.org/PDFfiles/Gajah/23-01-Glossary.pdf Tuskless/Tusklessness: (Owen-Smith 1966; Abe 1996; Whitehouse 2002) Bone without the ability to produce tusks; apparenty a geneticaly inherited trait. In Asia, most females and some males (varying with location) are tuskless. In Africa, certain areas (e.g. Queen Elizabeth in Uganda, and Addo Elephant in South Africa) have a largely tuskless female population. Tuskless males are uncommon in Africa.

M. Philip Kahl and Charles Santiapillai, Gajah Elephant Glossary, Gajah nr 23 (2004), Journal for Asian Elephant Specialist Group

Gorongosa National Park An associate professor in wildlife sciences, Ryan Long, who along with researchers from Princeton University, began their study on tusk-less elephants in Gorongosa National Park, 2018. Long, a large mammal ecologist, had already been working with elephants in Gorongosa, starting in 2015.

The team collected genetic samples and placed trackers on the elephants to monitor their activity.

The next couple of years consisted of continually retrieving additional specimen and analyzing their findings. This led to their data, which was published in Science in October 2021. Long not only returned to Gorongosa because of his established presence from prior projects, but because of the area’s high rate of tuskless elephants. Alarming amounts of elephants in Mozambique were poached during the Mozambican Civil War.

The Research from the study found that after the high rates of Ivory Poaching during the Civil War, female elephants without Tusks had a five-time higher chance of survival. Long said after the war, over half of the females in Gorongosa National Park didn’t have Tusks. It became a hereditary trait.

2021-11-29: Gorongosa; A team led by Princeton University researchers has now implicated two genes associated with tooth development in mammals to be at the center of the tuskless elephant phenomenon, according to a study published Oct. 21 in the journal Science. One of these genes is connected to the X Chromosome and is lethal to males, while humans who have the same gene mutation exhibit similar Teeth defects.

In humans, deletions of AMELX and some nearby genes manifest in a condition called amelogenesis imperfecta, which results in missing or flawed Enamel and cracked Teeth. In addition, this disorder co-occurs with a syndrome in humans that is X-linked dominant and male lethal. What’s also interesting is that the affected women’s maxillary lateral Incisors — a pair of Teeth located in the upper row — are either smaller than normal or missing altogether. These Incisors correspond to where Tusks are located in an elephant’s mouth.

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Tuskless mentioned in The Elephant Database

1 articles about countries in the elephant database match the word Tuskless.

7 locations holdings in the elephant database match the word Tuskless.

23 elephants in the elephant database match the word Tuskless

Reference list Koehl, Dan, (2024). Tuskless. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 20 September 2021 at https://www.elephant.se/index.php?id=192. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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