It is an airborne death machine, capable of taking off backward, accelerating in a fraction of a second, making unbanked turns or even a somersault at full speed, and stopping on a dime in mid-air. It's able to lift double its own weight, and is capable of making up to 400 kills a day. No, it's not the Pentagon's newest high-tech helicopter, but a dragonfly.
This winged warrior is just one of the many battle-scarred creatures that fly, swim, and walk through the pages of Evolutionary Wars, an extensively illustrated guide to nature's most ingenious means of attack and defense. Here on the front lines of the war of natural selection, early warning systems, sonar, stealth technology, chemical agents, and deadly weapons clash in the ultimate Darwinian struggle for superiority and survival. Participants include whales that can blast ultrasonic sound intense enough to kill, frogs able to secret lethal toxins that attack the nervous system, lizards who distract predators by shedding a piece of tail that continues to wiggle, and, finally, the ultimate weapons system which no other species has been able to compete with-- the human brain.
From the earliest bacteria and viruses through parasites, plants, and fungi to all creatures great and small, Evolutionary Wars is the story of an arms race that's been raging in the air, on land, and at sea for the last three billion years. Full of fascinating facts and anecdotes, it is perfect reading for natural history buffs, science lovers, and armchair generals.