The Power of Poison at The American Museum of Natural History
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Cleopatra was said to prefer the bite of an asp, while the powerful Borgia family dispatched their enemies with arsenic in Renaissance Italy. For centuries, humans have marveled at the secrets of poisons and sought to harness their toxic powers -- and this exhibition will explore both the biological basics of poison and the ways in which people have confronted its perils and potential. Approaching poison from several different perspectives -- as a dynamic defense system used by animals locked in evolutionary arms races with predators; as a compelling thread that runs through familiar legends, myths, and fables; as a series of mysteries visitors encounter and solve, including what suddenly poisoned Captain James Cook and two naturalists aboard his ship in the autumn of 1774; and as a promising source for powerful medical treatments -- The Power of Poison brings into sharp focus this captivating topic.