Animal Weapons

Animal Weapons

The Evolution of Battle

Book - 2014 | First edition.
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The story behind the stunning, extreme weapons we see in the animal world--teeth and horns and claws--and what they can tell us about the way humans develop and use arms and other weapons

In Animal Weapons, Doug Emlen takes us outside the lab and deep into the forests and jungles where he's been studying animal weapons in nature for years, to explain the processes behind the most intriguing and curious examples of extreme animal weapons--fish with mouths larger than their bodies and bugs whose heads are so packed with muscle they don't have room for eyes. As singular and strange as some of the weapons we encounter on these pages are, we learn that similar factors set their evolution in motion. Emlen uses these patterns to draw parallels to the way we humans develop and employ our own weapons, and have since battle began. He looks at everything from our armor and camouflage to the evolution of the rifle and the structures human populations have built across different regions and eras to protect their homes and communities. With stunning black and white drawings and gorgeous color illustrations of these concepts at work, Animal Weapons brings us the complete story of how weapons reach their most outsized, dramatic potential, and what the results we witness in the animal world can tell us about our own relationship with weapons of all kinds.

Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780805094503
Characteristics: xiii, 270 pages : illustrations (some colour)
Additional Contributors: Tuss, David J.


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Feb 21, 2015

This is a fascinating discourse on the evolutionary trends and factors of animal weapons. Weapons is used in a broad sense as camouflage is included. Sexual selection whether male on male combat or female choice is shown to be a powerful evolutionary determinate. The author provides numerous case studies from insects to large mammals. An interesting comparison and contrast assessment is drawn between animal weapon evolution and human weapon evolution. In many cases an "arms race" is established with drastic consequences for many.

eferry Dec 11, 2014

Why do moose have such large antlers? Why do some beetles have horns and others not?

Emlen researches the development and evolution of animals' weapons through an interesting read that not only gives examples from his own experiences, but which also relates his conclusions to human behavior and, of course, weapons.

This was a pretty quick read, but had some great stories and insight. I'll admit the ending was a bit far off from what I expected, but overall, this book is a nice break from fiction!

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