Animal Weapons The Evolution of Battle

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-11-11
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
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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.

Author Biography

Douglas J. Emlen is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, multiple research awards from the National Science Foundation, including their five-year CAREER award, and a Young Investigator Prize and the E. O. Wilson Naturalist Award from the American Society of Naturalists. His research has been featured in outlets including the New York Times and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. He is a professor at the University of Montana.

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Extremes 1

    1. Camouflage and Armor 13
    2. Teeth and Claws 26
    3. Claspers, Graspers, and Giant Jaws 40
Part II. Triggering the Race
    4. Competition 53
    5. Economic Defensibility 70
    6. Duels 85
Part III. Running Its Course
    7. Costs 107
    8. Reliable Signals 123
    9. Deterrence 135
    10. Sneaks and Cheats 148
    11. End of the Race 157
Part IV. Parallels
    12. Castles of Sand and Stone 171
    13. Ships, Planes, and States 193
    14. Mass Destruction 211
Acknowledgments 221
Notes 225
Index 261

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