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Lessons from evolution applied to national security and other threats
Date:1/28/2008

DURHAM, N.C. Could lessons learned from Mother Nature help airport security screening checkpoints better protect us from terror threats?

The authors of a new book, Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World, believe they can -- if governments are willing to think outside the box and pay heed to some of natures most successful evolutionary strategies for species adaptation and survival.

Biological organisms have figured out millions of ways, over three and a half billion years of evolution, to keep themselves safe from a vast array of threats, said Raphael Sagarin, a Duke University ecologist who co-edited the book with Terence Taylor, an international security expert.

Arms races among invertebrates, intelligence gathering by the immune system and alarm calls by marmots are just a few of natures successful security strategies that have been tested and modified over time in response to changing threats and situations, Sagarin said. In our book, we look at these strategies and ask how we could apply them to our own safety.

The book, published next month by the University of California Press, is the result of more than two years of investigation and debate by a multidisciplinary working group of scientists and security experts led by Sagarin and Taylor.

Sagarin is associate director for ocean and coastal policy at Dukes Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and assistant research professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

Taylor is president and director of the International Council for the Life Sciences. He previously worked with the United Nations as a Commissioner and Chief Inspector for Iraq on weapons of mass destruction, and was a career officer in the British army.

The working group included paleobiologists, anthropologists, psychologists, ecologists and national security experts who examined a wide array of evolutionary model
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Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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