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Animal Weapons And The Evolution Of Battle

From horns to claws, teeth and talons, the animal kingdom features many natural weapons.

But evolutionary biologist Doug Emlen wanted to know why, in some rare cases, animals develop weapons that are dramatically outsized for their bodies. He studied creatures ranging from rhinoceros beetles to Irish elk and found the same story—an evolutionary arms race pushes animal weapons to the extreme. And this biological arms race also directly parallels human arms races like the Cold War. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Emlen, professor of biology at the University of Montana, about his new book Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle (Henry Holt and Company/ 2014).

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.