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Examining human impacts on tusk evolution in elephants using authentic research data using Serenity

Author(s): Kaitlin Bonner

St. John Fisher College

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In this activity students explore and analyze real, authentic research data paired with HHMI’s “Selection for Tuskless Elephants” video in a hands-on investigation of human impacts on elephant evolution using the R-Shiny App, Serenity.


In this activity students explore human impacts on elephant tusk evolution using HHMI’s Scientists at Work “Selection for Tuskless Elephants” and a research data set from Chiyo et al. (2015) on the relationship between illegal tusk harvest and recent population changes in tusk size in the African elephant that is publicly-available through Dryad Data Repositories. This adaptation provides an additional mechanism of working with Chiyo et al.'s (2015) dataset using Serenity as the graphical tool. Serenity is an R-Shiny App developed by Drew LaMar. Students can quickly and easily generate figures and statistical analyses in Serenity. Similar to the activities posted, students compare the impacts of selective pressure as a result of poaching from the research data to the discussion of the Gorongosa population in the HHMI video.


This version uses Serenity, an R-shiny app developed by Drew LaMar.

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