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The Ivory Came from the Savanna

2 elephants in muddy water

Two African Savanna Elephants

You eliminated forest elephants as a possible source of the ivory so the ivory sample probably came from a poached savanna elephant, but where?

In general, the closer two populations of elephants are, the more alleles they will have in common. We selected three far-apart populations of savanna elephants—from the northern, southern, and eastern part of Africa—for further analysis. These populations should be quite distinct from one another. By comparing the DNA profile of the ivory sample to the profiles of each of these populations, you should be able to determine whether the ivory was more likely to have come from the north, east, or south.

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Savanna Elephant Populations

This map only shows savanna elephant populations. The larger circles show the locations of three populations in the north (red dot), east (teal), and south (green) that you will analyze.