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Dazzled and Deceived Mimicry and Camouflage

by Peter Forbes

Dazzled and Deceived Mimicry and Camouflage Synopsis

Nature has perfected the art of deception. Thousands of creatures all over the world-including butterflies, moths, fish, birds, insects and snakes-have honed and practiced camouflage over hundreds of millions of years. Imitating other animals or their surroundings, nature's fakers use mimicry to protect themselves, to attract and repel, to bluff and warn, to forage, and to hide. The advantages of mimicry are obvious-but how does blind nature do it? And how has humanity learned to profit from nature's ploys? Dazzled and Deceived tells the unique and fascinating story of mimicry and camouflage in science, art, warfare, and the natural world. Discovered in the 1850s by the young English naturalists Henry Walter Bates and Alfred Russel Wallace in the Amazonian rainforest, the phenomenon of mimicry was seized upon as the first independent validation of Darwin's theory of natural selection. But mimicry and camouflage also created a huge impact outside the laboratory walls. Peter Forbes's cultural history links mimicry and camouflage to art, literature, military tactics, and medical cures across the twentieth century, and charts its intricate involvement with the perennial dispute between evolution and creationism. As Dazzled and Deceived unravels the concept of mimicry, Forbes introduces colorful stories and a dazzling cast of characters-Roosevelt, Picasso, Nabokov, Churchill, and Darwin himself, to name a few-whom its mystery influenced and enthralled. Illuminating and lively, Dazzled and Deceived sheds new light on the greatest quest: to understand the processes of life at its deepest level.

Dazzled and Deceived Mimicry and Camouflage Press Reviews

'Forbes sees with lovely clarity that nature, like art, is a bricoleur.' (Veronica Horwell, The Guardian) 'An intriguing and fluent narrative... Forbes's emphasis makes this a distinctively British story.' (Marek Kohn, The Independent) 'He tells brilliantly this exciting and colourful story with good anecdotes, bizarre characters and intriguing evidence.' (Tim Neward, Financial Times) 'In this excellent and wide-ranging book, Forbes makes the hidden histories of science recognisable.' (Leena Lindstrom, Nature)

Book Information

ISBN: 9780300178968
Publication date: 9th August 2011
Author: Peter Forbes
Publisher: Yale University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 304 pages
Categories: Evolution, Developmental biology, Animal behaviour,

About Peter Forbes

Peter Forbes is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

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