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‘Nature’s Wildest Weapons’ – UM Biology Professor Stars In BBC Nature Documentary

photo courtesy of UM
Douglas Emlen

University of Montana Biology Professor Doug Emlen’s 2014 book, ‘Animal Weapons, The Evolution of Battle’ has been adapted by the BBC into a documentary starring Emlen, called ‘Nature’s Wildest Weapons, Horns, Tusks and Antlers’.

“I’ve spent a lot of years trying to explain why some animals have these extraordinary weapons,” Emlen said. “The same conditions in all these species lead to an arms race with bigger and bigger weapons, so whether you’re talking about elk, or tusks in elephants, or horns on beetles, or claws on fiddler crabs, the story comes out to be pretty much always the same.”

Emlen said the concepts in his book also dovetailed into another species, man.

“I ended up stumbling on the fact that the story is also the same in the military arms race,” he said. “So, the same kind of phenomena explains arms races and military technologies as for extreme weapons like antlers and tusks.”

Emlen said the BBC contacted him and spent a great deal of time following him around and filming his work.

“They wanted to put together a documentary that followed me as I try to explain these crazy extreme weapons,” he continued. “They came out in October and November of last year and spent almost a month in Montana running around doing shoots, and have been a fantastic group to work with. They’ve let me look at all the dialogues and all the scripts so everything is accurate.”

The BBC special has already aired, however, Emlen is hopeful it will eventually be available to view online.

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