People who doubt evolution tend to have one main argument: "If evolution is true, why do we still see monkeys running around today, all chimp-like? Where are all the monkey-men I was promised?"
Well, if you or someone you know refuses to believe that organisms change over time without proof on a monkey-man level, here are a buttload of animals in the middle of getting their evolve on. Well, seven anyway.
7Elephants are Evolving to Lose Their Tusks (and Avoid Poachers)
Here's a joke: What did the elephant say to the poacher?
Answer: Dear God in heaven, please don't kill me for my ivory.
"Stop! Ha ha! You're killing me!"
Sorry about that. Sometimes we get "joke" mixed up with "tragic imagined dialogue that could be happening at this very second if elephants had the power of speech." When the international ban on the trade of ivory took effect in 1989, there were about a million elephants in Africa and about 7.5 percent of those were getting poached to death every year. Today, less than half of them are left, and we're still losing about 8 percent of elephants to ivory poachers. Pretty much everything we've done to protect our wild pachyderm friends has failed.
And ever since animal rights got involved, unemployment has shot up 300 percent. Oh wait, we're being depressing again.
So elephants have decided to take matters into their own hands ... or trunks or weirdly rounded three-toed feet or whatever. To make themselves less appealing to their greatest enemies (poachers), elephants all over the world have begun selecting against having tusks at all. For example, it used to be that only 2 to 5 percent of Asian male elephants were born without tusks, and you can believe those few were the belittled Dumbos of the group.
"GROW SOME TUSKS, ASSHOLE"
By 2005, it was estimated that the tuskless population had risen to between 5 and 10 percent. And it's not just happening in Asia, either. One African national park estimated their number of elephants born without tusks was as high as 38 percent. It's natural selection in action: either lady elephants are deliberately choosing tuskless mates, or the only boy elephants surviving into breeding time are the ones born without tusks. Either way, that tusklessness is getting passed on.
Just like your debilitating lisp after reading that out loud
Which is incredible, because it's not like tusks are the elephant version of wisdom teeth. They're weapons and tools, and they're needed to dig for water and roots and to battle for the love of a lady. Which means nature decided poachers are a greater threat to the elephant's existence than its diminished ability to forage or to score.
6Russian Dogs are Evolving to Learn the Subways
Maybe you think you've got a smart dog. Maybe you've given him a monocle, named him Dr. Tesla Sagan and taught him how to roll over every time someone recites pi. But while you and Brain the Dog were perfecting parlor tricks, the stray dogs of Moscow have evolved to master the city's subway system.
You may have a degree, smart dog, but has it got real world applications? No? You're an asshole, dog.
Today, there are around 35,000 strays roaming Moscow, as dog catching fell behind when the Soviet Union collapsed. Over several generations of breeding, those dogs have gotten very, very smart. If Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure taught us anything, besides some sweet-ass songs, it's that street dogs have to rely on their wits to get vittles. And since only 3 percent of Moscow's strays survive long enough to breed, only the toughest and more importantly, the smartest, end up procreating.
Among these Einstein strays, hundreds have taken up residence in the underground metro stations and have freaking learned how to travel their territories via subway train. They'll stand and wait for the train, just like everyone else, then sneak on, go to sleep, and get off at their stops. Day after day. Scientists figure they use smell and the recorded names of stations to navigate.
"Late as usual, am I right? Oh, I mean woof."
And that's not all they've figured out. Roving gangs of begging dogs have learned how to send out the smallest and cutest among them to do their begging. And big dogs have learned the bark and grab: jumping and barking at on a person eating a snack, making them drop it, then pouncing on the dropped food.
"I have this human well trained."
You know what this means, guys? We are one Billy Joel song away from a real world Oliver and Company on the streets and subways of Moscow.