MISSOULA – University of Montana Professor Doug Emlen will present a lecture titled “Extravagant Weapons: The Story Behind Arms Races in Animals and People” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in the North Ballroom of the University Center. The event is free and open to the public. A reception with light refreshments will follow at 5 p.m. The lecture is sponsored by UM’s Office of the Provost of the Office of the President.
The lecture will celebrate Emlen’s 2015 CASE Montana Professor of the Year award, which recognizes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country. It is awarded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Emlen is one of 35 winners selected nationwide from nearly 400 nominated professors.
Emlen is an internationally renowned expert on horns, antlers, claws and other animal armaments. He earned his doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University in 1994 and joined the UM faculty in 1996. Emlen teaches Behavior and Evolution, Insect Biology and a number of graduate courses at UM.
Every animal has a weapon of one sort or another, and the overwhelming majority of weapons stay small. Yet, sprinkled through the tree of life are species where weapons become extreme. Occasionally, human manufactured weapons also evolve to extremes. Emlen’s research reveals that the same critical conditions trigger arms races in both cases, and the most crucial prerequisite is duels. Emlen will discuss beetles and battleships, crabs and the Cold War as he explains how the journey that begins with biology becomes the story of all weapons.