Power of Poison exhibit at Museum of Natural History

Dr. Sapna Parikh has the story
November 15, 2013 4:18:07 PM PST
The most poisonous animal on the planet, the golden poison frog, in the forests of Colombia, can bring down 10 humans at once. It's The Power of Poison, the new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.

"I was surprised because it was just this little tiny frog," said 9-year-old Chase Bhola.

From the legend of Snow White, to the mythical potions of Macbeth, poison continues to mystify. But the same poisons that kill, can also cure.

"They're agents of change, they're agents of evolution, they're agents of good," said curator Dr. Mark Siddall.

Dr. Siddall says a pain medication in development uses neurotoxin from a cone snail, and the venom of a carpet anemone could be a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

And the taxoid toxins from this from this Yew Tree protect it from predators, but they're also the source of a commonly used chemotherapy drug taxol.

Using hidden sensors, the enchanted book brings to life poisonous plants, and the interactive exhibit lets you be the detective.

"We were trying to figure out the clues and who poisoned the captain," said 6?year-old Madison Flaherty.

"As a natural history museum, it's our job to turn young people and old people alike into scientists," said Dr. Siddall.

By studying how poisons destroy, scientists can use them to heal. The pursuit of poison's power will never end, but when put to good use, it may hold the secret to good health.

And this poisonous exhibit will be on display until August 2014.

For more information on The Power of Poison exhibit, please visit the Museum's website http://amnh.org/poison.