New Documentary Explores The Virtues of Venom

BY Lauren Knapp  February 23, 2011 at 1:51 PM EDT

The phrase “that which does not kill you only makes you stronger” couldn’t be more true for toxinologists, the scientists studying the properties of the world’s deadliest venoms in hopes of unlocking their beneficial properties. They are studying the poisonous properties of chemicals that evolved over millennia to give animals a fighting chance of survival.

The new documentary “Nature: Venom’s Killer,” a collaboration between NOVA and National Geographic, follows these researchers as they travel around the world to capture samples from snakes, spiders, snails, jellyfish and other creatures that could kill a grown man with hopes of developing life saving drugs.

Hari Sreenivasan spoke to director Chad Cohen about the film and his own close encounters with the dangerous animals.


View a slide show of photographs taken by Dr. Zoltan Takacs, one of the researchers “Venom: Nature’s Killer” follows into the jungles of Vietnam.

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Follow Hari Sreenivasan on Twitter.
Video edited by Lauren Knapp