Douglas J. Emlen in his book (Animal Weapons:The Evolution of Battle) examines evolution of animal weapons whilst comparing it to evolution of modern day weapons.The author states that animal evolution resulted in the replacement of inefficient weapons forms with more efficient forms.The weapon selection favoured the animals that had minimal size and cost but the weapons did not impair their ability to move.

2.Starting small

The evolution of animal weapons came in many forms.There were both offensive weapons of attack and defensive weapons to protect themselves.The efficiency of weapons could also be increased from division of labour.For example ,in the ants colony the ants have different bodies and weapons sizes and the performance of different tasks enabled them to function as a efficient whole.

Hopi Hoekstra while studying genes in mice noted that mice that had new alleles survived better than the ancestral version of genes .This is because they adapted better to the surrounding environment and reduced the chances of owls preying on the them.

Military forces in the USA adopted the Universal Camouflage Pattern(UCP ) to blend with the environment so that they could carry out subtle attacks on their enemy.The UCP failed in Afghanistan and they adopted Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern in 2010 due to the different terrain structure.This showcased that not all weapons can be used in every situation and varies with the need.

3.Triggering the race

Competition, economic defensibility and duels are considered crucial in order for an arms race to occur.Douglas evaluates sexual selection ( where by individuals of one sex compete for access to the other) to elaborate on competition in the animal kingdom.This is because the sexual selection differs from other forms of natural selection due to the fact that it is tailor made to push the traits to the extreme.

The female Jacanas usually fight over territories the males are situated.The female Jacanas are usually more aggressive and have larger weapons compared to male Jacanas due to the fact that they are constantly fighting to secure territories.Some females may be able to push out rivals from a single male territory but the biggest and best females own enough island to house three to four males.

Duel,is another key ingredients for arms race,that enables the parties to be able to know the best weapons or modifications necessary to win a war.The World War 1 enabled Lanchester to develop his square law for modern warfare.Lanchester first model of linear laws described the ancient warfare methods to determine strength of military forces.He was then able to contrast with models that had significance in the modern age.

Economic defensibility requires an individual to look at the costs and benefits of defending a resource. In sexual selection of Tungara frogs,the males broadcast their location with eerie incessant calls.The chance of failing to attract a female higher but they take risk at the odds of being eaten by predator.State usually weigh the costs and benefits associated with building the weapons and choose the cost effective weapons.

The environment is dynamic and there is no reason to infer that the ingredients necessary for an arms race will last indefinitely.

4.Running the course

In biological arms race, as the weapons grew bigger there was also higher costs to the animals. In an experiment conducted on beetles the author noted that the increase in beetle horns led to stunted eyes.It was also elaborated in other animals such as moose who needed crucial minerals for their antlers such as calcium and phosphorus that was not present in the forage borrowed the minerals from other bones in there bodies to build their antlers.

The costs associated with development of weapons vary for individuals.There are mandatory funds that fulfill necessary obligations and discretionary funds to be used in other respects. In animals weapons can be considered discretionary since animals require the rest of the body to be build but can live without weapons.The was reduction in the population of the moose due to the high costs that were associated with the developing of the antlers.

In humans,each state has mandatory obligations to fulfil and the surplus pool can be used as discretionary funds to help build weapons.The size of the discretionary pool vary because not all countries have the same size of resources.

Male fiddler crabs usually size up their rival males to determine whether they can be able to take on their opponent.This helps them to walk away from a fight if they do not have the power to defeat their rivals.Similarly, during the Pax Britanicca period the local conflict did not escalate to war due to the presence of British warships that were considered a supreme power.

4.1 Taking the short route

Some animals such as the Dimorphic dung beetle species use sneaky methods to defeat their rivals.The Dimorphic dung beetle dig tunnels next to a main tunnel that is guarded by another male beetle so that they can access the main tunnel without having to fight a stronger rival.In modern warfare,there are countries that choose to attack indirectly to avoid any casualties associated with direct warfare.The Zero Day attack can be deployed into database and the code were embedded to lurk until it is necessary to exploit the software.The software engineers are sometimes unaware of it and it can cause great causality.


Humans manufacture weapons from material in the environment and the structure exist separately from individuals but for animal weapons the weapons are part and parcel of their bodies.The animals also have the ability to build structures such as building of fortresses by termites.The information to build the fortress by be genetically inherited or learned through careful apprenticeship and practice.In humans,either by design or accident they are able to pass on information on building of weapons through documents to be able to build more weapons.

The bombing of Hiroshima by the nuclear warhead led states to scramble to develop them.Originally,states were restricted by cost of building the nuclear warhead but as the race progressed the warhead became cheaper.Countries such as India in the 1970s was able to create nuclear warhead.The rise of territorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban also causes worry that they could be able to access the weapons of mass destruction. The magnitude of weapons of mass destruction available cannot be compared to any animal weapon evolution.It is unlikely for the human race to survive another arms race.






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