From Snow White’s poisonous apple to Harry Potter’s venomous basilisk, storybooks are filled with poisonous brews and venomous beasts.
People are fascinated by poisons, toxins, and venoms, says Mark Sidall, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Sidall is curator of the exhibition “The Power of Poison,” which will be on display until August 10, 2014. The exhibition explores poison’s roles in nature, myth, and human health. Visitors will discover how poison may be used as a defense against predators, a source of strength, or as a lethal weapon-turned-lifesaving treatment.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Sidall for Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine. The resulting story introduces three pairs of predator and prey facing off in toxic arms races. It describes how, over generations, these competitors’ defenses have become more extraordinary and their chemical weapons more extreme.
To read the story go to http://magazines.scholastic.com/news/2014/05/Poison-Power .
For information about the exhibition go to http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/the-power-of-poison .
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