“The mortality rate of the babirusa, a type of wild pig, is often raised in a curious way: some individuals die of having their brain pierced by their own tusks. (…) The bottom ones emerge from the lower jaw and point upward; the upper canines also grow upward, crossing the muzzle and then curving to the rear. They grow as long as thirty centimeters. In certain aged males, the tips of the tusks sometimes end by meeting the skull, which they gradually pierce until they bring about the animal’s death. (…) They fight with the lower tusks, which can inflict serious wounds. The upper tusks are inoffensive; their function is mainly to protect the eyes from the tusks of adversaries. In their natural environment, these animals have evolved without predators. Their only serious wounds being those they inflict on one another, two of their tusks have lost their aggressive function and acquired a protective one. (…) Not all the males die of the skull being pierced by their own tusks. In most of them, the tusks grow away from the skull, and their twisting form suffices to avoid any wound. Besides, the tusks do not reach a length great enough to threaten the animal’s physical integrity until late in his life. By then he has managed to reproduce several times, and in so doing to pass along his characteristics to his descendants. The few cases of babirusas killed by their own tusks cannot diminish the advantage of having ever more formidable ones that can win over a female heart.”
Jean-Baptiste Panafieu, “Evolution,” translated from the French by Linda Asher. Photo via Google.
…I bet the bacon tastes of sulphur and tears.