Nature's Toxins Versus Man's Ingenuity

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Nature has many toxins it uses to protect itself against predators. Toxins in nature can either kill humans or can do damage to the body. In the animal and plant kingdom there are toxins deadly to humans, but we have found ways to combat some of them. How do the toxins in nature affect the body and how does man fight back? Many plants are poisonous from poison ivy and poison sumac to flowers used in bouquets such as larkspur and lily of the valley. Plants spread their poisons in different ways. Their poisons rang from skin irritation to death. Some are poisonous to the touch while others are orally toxic and have to be ingested to cause harm. Aconite is a plant that is poisonous by touch and ingestion. The toxins on the plant cause serious health problems from tingling skin and vomiting to heart irregularities and death. Other plants are poisonous in one stage of growth and development, but completely harmless in the next. Once fully matured pokeweed turns deadly and can cause blood clots and in severe cases death when consumed. “Just about every order of animal has venomous members,” says Bryan Grieg Fry, a venom researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia. “There are hundreds of thousands of [venomous] species out there.” If you look up any species of animal you will find at least one member has some kind of toxin that they use. “Although the words “venomous” and “poisonous” are used interchangeably in everyday speech, they are actually fundamentally different. By definition, venom has to be injected into the body, introduced by a bite or a sting. Poison, on the other hand, is ingested or inhaled into the body by the victim. Thus, venomous and poisonous animals are altogether different.” (Papio 2) Anim... ... middle of paper ... ...obia and ophidiophobia. In the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone two of the characters, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, walk into the woods that are on school campus and run straight into a nest of giant brown wolf spiders. The boys are chased by the pack of spiders and just make it out of harms way with Ron’s dad’s flying car coming to the rescue. The Harry Potter books and movies are brilliant, but that scene can easily scare a young child even without the part where one of the spiders catches up with the boys and grabs Ron around the neck. Man and Nature are locked in the struggle for survival that will last as long as the Earth continues to spin. Nature has many toxins in its arsenal that it uses to protect itself against attacks, but man has his own means of defense to combat those toxins. He has even developed ways to use them for his own benefit.

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