Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

This is coolbert: As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, I am constantly on the watch for analogies between the natural world and the world of the military. Actions, behavior, practices as seen in nature that appear to be mimiced by man in the military sphere.

Shellfish are an example of how evolution has prepared a species for success. Success as a predatory animal.

It should be remembered that in the animal world, competition for resources is what stimulates species in their developmental process. Lack of success in the competition for resources means eventual extinction. If the body design of the organism is not sound, it will not survive. As simple as that.

Shellfish have developed a bodily design over the eons that has made them successful predators. This design incorporates three features. An armored shell, for protection. A foot, used as a means of locomotion, and a rasping mouth, for attacking prey and devouring same. This very simple but successful design is responsible for the proliferation of shellfish in a myriad of species.

An analogy to the shellfish can be found in the military tank. Only developed in the last hundred years, since the invention of the internal combustion engine. The military tank incorporates into it's design three features that make it a successful weapon of war [predator]. Thick armor [shell] for protection. A internal combustion engine [foot] for locomotion . And a main gun [rasping mouth] for attacking the enemy. This design is both simple and provides the ingredients for success.

As for the shellfish as with the military tank, successful design ensures success. Lacking in any of these three basic features means failure and death.

It is interesting that some species of shellfish have shed their protective armor, and yet have evolved into designs that also have been successful. Designs that do have observable analogies in the military world.

Squids and octopus are species of shellfish that have shed the protective armor of their ancient ancestors. And yet these species have thrived and proliferated. All the while maintain their predatory instincts and surviving.

Having shed the protective armor, squid and octopus have developed more sophisticated forms of both defense and attack.

No longer having the protective shell, they must rely upon other means of defense. One means of defense is sensors and intelligence. The intent is to sense any possible predator before the predator can see them. The squid or octopus sense their opposition from a distance and evaluate the sensory input. Arrive at conclusion as to what action to take for protection. One means of protection is camouflage. Squid and octopus can vary their shape and color to blend in with the surroundings. The are masters at camouflage. And of course, if the squid or octopus are detected, escape is enabled by ink [smokescreen] being sprayed into the water, the shellfish propelling themselves out of range of the attacker by using speed of movement [this is in contrast to the armored ancestors of the squid and octopus, which were slow moving animals].

When on the attack, squid and octopus employ the same sensors and intelligence they used for defense to detect prey and formulate a plan of attack. And the attack is delivered from all directions, using the multiplicity of arms for attacking mechanisms.

To me, squid and octopus resemble a light infantry unit or a band of guerrillas. Quick moving, relying upon stealth, sensory perception and an intelligence to evaluate the sensory input. Using camouflage, stealth, and quick movement to defeat the enemy, either on the attack or on the defense.

Humans have devised military practices that DO mimic what we see in nature.



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