Lacking claws, armor, or stabbing teeth, humans are easy targets for predation. But thanks to our big, beautiful brains, we figured out early on how to co-opt the killing tools of nature's top hunters for our own defense—and offense. Here are some of the best examples of technology mimicking nature. Or just straight up stealing from it.

Shark Tooth Sword, Kiribati

Advertisement

Photo: imbrettjackson


Calusa shell clubs

Advertisement

Photo: bob reid


Tebute, a Gilbertese shark tooth weapon

Advertisement

Photo: Joshua Drew et al./PlosOne


Swordfish bill dagger

Advertisement

Photo: mauifishingputters.com


Shark Tooth Sword, Micronesia, Gilbert Island

Advertisement

Photo: oceaniaart.com


Bering Sea walrus ivory harpoon point

Advertisement

Photo: Herigate Auctions


Shark tooth club from the Pacific Islands. Peabody-Essex Museum

Advertisement

Photo: Margaret Killjoy


Blue marlin bill dagger with tiger shark teeth

Advertisement

Photo: mauifishingputters.com


Western Pacific turtle bone axe

Advertisement

Photo: Carter's Price Guide to Antiques


Eskimo darts made of ivory and caribou bone

Advertisement

Photo: New World Antiquities


Stingray barb dagger and cassowary bone dagger from New Zealand

Advertisement

Photo: M. A. Lurig


Whale Bone War Club, ca. 1800, Nuu-chah-nulth or Makah

Advertisement

Photo: Travis S.


Bone Blade Knife

Advertisement

Photo: Practical Abstractions


Azilian bone harpoon

Advertisement

Photo: Didier Descouens/Wikimwdia Commons


Eskimo fishing spear made from the horns of a musk ox

Advertisement

Photo: John Tyman


Top photo: Library Of Congress
Images curated by Attila Nagy

Advertisement