An Autopsy On A 700-Year-Old Mummy Confirms He Was Murdered

Using modern forensic techniques, a team of archaeologists have conducted an autopsy on the naturally preserved mummy of Cangrande della Scala. As suspected, the researchers have confirmed that the medieval Italian warlord was in fact assassinated. » 1/12/15 7:40am 1/12/15 7:40am

Why Twisted Fairy Tales Are The Kind We Deserve

Fairy tales are more popular ever, inspiring hit movies, huge TV shows, and a flood of books. But aren't fairy tales also kind of… regressive? They always feature princesses in trouble, and the dashing princess who rescue them, right? Wrong. Poison author Sarah Pinborough argues that fairy tales should be subversive. » 9/26/14 3:30pm 9/26/14 3:30pm

"Venomous" vs "Poisonous," Explained With Adorable Talking Animals

Science and nature cartoonist Rosemary Mosco's latest webcomic explains the difference between venomous and poisonous in just half a dozen panels (fewer, if you count the intro and the kicker), which makes it as pithily informative as it is charming. » 7/18/14 6:00pm 7/18/14 6:00pm

The 7 Deadliest Fashion Trends Of All Time

Keeping up with fashion trends can sometimes be uncomfortable and expensive. But trying a new style or two is typically not life-threatening — except in the case of these dangerous trends, that maimed (and sometimes killed) anyone brave enough to sport them. » 6/24/14 10:34am 6/24/14 10:34am

Bites, Stings, Spines, and Spurs—The Many Mechanisms of Venom Delivery

Venomous animals have evolved a variety of mechanisms that deliver toxins to would-be predators and prey. In this video, Museum Curator Mark Siddall explains some of the anatomical features you'll want to avoid. » 6/13/14 2:58am 6/13/14 2:58am

Poachers use cyanide to massacre over 300 elephants in Zimbabwe

The Telegraph is reporting that poachers in Zimbabwe have killed more than 300 elephants and countless other safari animals by cyanide poisoning, a number that vastly exceeds initial estimates. And disturbingly, new deaths are still be recorded. » 10/21/13 9:39am 10/21/13 9:39am

Meet the Deadliest Venomous Animals in the World

Venom can turn a seemingly weak and tiny creature into a feared killer. But what, exactly, does it mean for an animal to be "venomous"? And which venomous species are the most deadly to humans? Here's what we know. » 9/25/13 11:00am 9/25/13 11:00am

A Medieval poison ring used for political murders

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed a medieval bronze ring that might have been used for political murders some 700 years ago. » 8/22/13 4:00pm 8/22/13 4:00pm

How did Pablo Neruda really die? Forensic science weighs in.

Almost 40 years ago, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda died. Whether the Nobel prizewinner’s death was from prostate cancer (the official diagnosis) or poisoning has been a longstanding mystery. But earlier this week, Neruda's body was removed from its tomb, launching a forensic investigation that could establish once and for… » 4/11/13 6:40am 4/11/13 6:40am

Charting causes of death in America between 1970 and 2006

Some damn fine data visualization (interactive data visualization, at that!) by the folks at the Institue for Health Metrics and evaluation. » 12/20/12 2:30pm 12/20/12 2:30pm

Children's chemistry sets used to contain cyanide

Do you ever long for the good ol' days? When a rickety school desk was enough to protect you from a nuclear blast, and chemistry sets contained real (read: deadly) chemicals? » 8/01/12 10:20am 8/01/12 10:20am

When arsenic peppermints poisoned nearly 200 people in a single night

Back in Victorian England, they knew how to inflict macabre, terrible death. Case in point: a single mishap led to the death of 25 people and the poisoning of nearly 200 individuals in one night, after they all consumed arsenic-laced peppermint treats. » 6/22/12 3:02pm 6/22/12 3:02pm

This tiny blue flower can kill a humpback whale

The humpback whale is one of Earth's largest creatures, with an average weight of around 40 tons. But as it turns out, this gigantic creature is vulnerable to the toxins of a much smaller living thing: Aconitum delphinifolium, better known as Larkspur monkshood. » 4/21/12 4:00pm 4/21/12 4:00pm

How to mine for gold in your television set and computer keyboard

Where do your computer, iPhone, and television go when they die? Mostly they end up in dumps. Now, people in North America, India, and Europe are harvesting these trashed electronic parts to recover the precious metals within. Though gold is often what they seek, lead and copper are valuable in large quantities too.… » 3/21/12 3:19pm 3/21/12 3:19pm

On one Japanese island, everyone always carries a gas mask

Scenes from Miyakejima can look downright post-apocalyptic. Each resident on the tiny Japanese island is required to carry a gas mask, just in case they need to quickly pull it on. But why? » 1/15/12 11:00am 1/15/12 11:00am

In South Africa, rhinos could soon become agents of chemical warfare

Got a hankering for some rhinoceros horn? Practitioners of traditional Asian medicine believe that ground rhino horns, when ingested, can help cure diseases like cancer. Unfortunately for patients consuming rhino horns, they could just as well be chewing on their fingernails. Unfortunately for the rhinos, the… » 9/08/11 5:00pm 9/08/11 5:00pm

The roads in North Dakota are giving people cancer

In Dunn County, North Dakota, the roads can kill you. In fact, anything you do to disturb rocks in the area, like driving or even sweeping, can kick up naturally-occurring particles that lodge in your body and give you a rare kind of lung cancer up to 30 years later. Dunn County, you see, is home to a lot of rocks… » 7/27/11 8:00am 7/27/11 8:00am

The convergent evolution of butterflies is controlled by a single gene

Certain butterfly species are poisonous, providing a deadly defense against predators. Over time, different butterfly species have evolved the same color patterns, basically telling predators to avoid all butterflies of that appearance. This is the mystery of convergent evolution. » 7/22/11 4:30pm 7/22/11 4:30pm