cover image Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle

Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle

Douglas J. Emlen. Henry Holt, $30 (288) ISBN 978-0-8050-9450-3

Emlen (coauthor of Evolution: Making Sense of Life) showcases his lifetime interest in weaponry in this work on the arms race in both the animal kingdom and the human world. Emlen begins by describing his curiosity with animal tusks and horns at the natural history museum as a child and goes on to describe the evolution of all manner of animal weapons, from the horns of his beloved dung beetles to the tusks of elephant species. He goes beyond mere description to illustrate why some species develop “extravagant weapons” while others do not. Emlen infuses scientific explanations with entertaining anecdotes from his field research at the University of Montana. Each step of the way, he provides parallels with human weapon development and design, from ancient civilizations to weapons of mass destruction, and the evolutionary process of animals. While his conclusions about the human arms race are dire, it is his description of animal weaponry in action and in evolution that will captivate. [em]Agent: Tina Bennett, William Morris Endeavor. (Nov.)[/em]