December 10, 2003 | David F. Coppedge

Hunters Are Interfering With Evolution

Evolutionists don’t seem to know what to make of research about how hunters are affecting the evolution of bighorn sheep.  The paper published in the Dec. 11 issue of Nature1 was noted by a reviewer in the same issue2, who titled his review, “Undesirable evolutionary consequences of trophy hunting,” yet humans must be considered part of the evolutionary equation, too.  The problem is that ram horns are shrinking as hunters go for the prime males with the largest racks before they can breed.  According to EurekAlert, all seem to agree that alternative strategies in wildlife regulation need to be explored to prevent continued deterioration of the genetic quality of the population.  Hunters, too, are usually concerned about conservation, not wanting their favorite targets to become extinct.


1David Coltman et al., “Undesirable evolutionary consequences of trophy hunting,” Nature 426, 655 – 658 (11 December 2003); doi:10.1038/nature02177.
2John Whitfield, “Sheep horns downsized by hunters’ taste for trophies,” Nature 426, 595 (11 December 2003); doi:10.1038/426595a.

Now, wait a minute.  Humans evolved, too, right?  How can anything be “undesirable” in evolutionary terms?  And we thought that predation was a good thing and made the prey stronger.  Maybe the large horns are a burden and the hunters are improving the sheep’s fitness.  Who are we, as evolved brethren of algae and frogs and bats, to say that bigger sheep are desirable?  That’s speciesism.  If hunters evolved, then everything will work out in the end, and if the sheep go extinct, well, lots of things have gone extinct.
    Don’t believe a word of this.  Just be consistent, that’s the point.  Actually, even 30 years is nowhere long enough, and Alberta nowhere near a big enough region, to make any claims whatsoever about evolution.  Run the whole experiment for a million years over all of North America and maybe we’ll give you a second chance to tell your story.

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Categories: Mammals

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