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

Photo: imbrettjackson

Calusa shell clubs

Photo: bob reid

Tebute, a Gilbertese shark tooth weapon

Photo: Joshua Drew et al./PlosOne

Swordfish bill dagger


Shark Tooth Sword, Micronesia, Gilbert Island


Bering Sea walrus ivory harpoon point

Photo: Herigate Auctions

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

Photo: Margaret Killjoy

Blue marlin bill dagger with tiger shark teeth


Western Pacific turtle bone axe

Photo: Carter's Price Guide to Antiques

Eskimo darts made of ivory and caribou bone

Photo: New World Antiquities

Stingray barb dagger and cassowary bone dagger from New Zealand

Photo: M. A. Lurig

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

Photo: Travis S.

Bone Blade Knife

Photo: Practical Abstractions

Azilian bone harpoon

Photo: Didier Descouens/Wikimwdia Commons

Eskimo fishing spear made from the horns of a musk ox

Photo: John Tyman

Top photo: Library Of Congress
Images curated by Attila Nagy