Dazzled and Deceived by Peter Forbes

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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 practised 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 learnt 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' 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 dispute between evolution and creationism.
 

About Peter Forbes

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Peter Forbes has written a series of articles Biomimetics for the Guardian and a chapter on the same subject for the Guardian’s book, ‘Frontiers 03’ (Atlantic Books). He was the editor of Poetry Review from 1986 to 2002 and his anthology ‘Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Verse’ was widely acclaimed. He translated Primo Levi’s personal anthology, ‘The Search for Roots’, (Penguin Press) in 2001 and Bloodaxe published his latest poetry anthology ‘We have come through’ in 2003.
 
Published November 15, 2011 by Yale University Press. 304 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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He also quickly covers such amazements as the camouflage potential of the octopus: the colourblind octopus assesses its environment visually, then its brain directly transmits to the shutters of the black, red and yellow colour cells of its skin exactly which combination of open and shut will ble...

Oct 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Dazzled and Deceived

The Guardian

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He also quickly covers such amazements as the camouflage potential of the octopus: the colourblind octopus assesses its environment visually, then its brain directly transmits to the shutters of the black, red and yellow colour cells of its skin exactly which combination of open and shut will ble...

Oct 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Dazzled and Deceived

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