Explore poison’s roles in nature, myth, and human health—as a defense against predators, a source of strength, or a lethal weapon-turned-lifesaving treatment.
Staff Profile, Video
Dr. Mark Siddall studies the evolutionary biology of a wide range of parasites, from single-celled microbes to leeches.
Poisons are just one tool of many in an organism’s struggle for existence. For the most part, when humans are stung or poisoned, we’ve been caught in the crossfire.
Once upon a time, people often turned to magic, instead of science, to understand the unexplainable, including many sicknesses and poisonings.
In centuries past, illness and death could strike suddenly and inexplicably. Was poison to blame? Or some poorly understood disease?
Used carefully, poisons can be beneficial. Plant toxins and animal venoms have been used in treatments for medical conditions ranging from coughing to cancer.
Major funding has been provided by the
Lila Wallace – Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.