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When we enter the world of venom, we enter the realm of one of the most diverse, versatile, sophisticated and deadly biological adaptations ever to have evolved on Earth.
Since it first appeared in ancient jellyfish and sea anemones, venom has proved so effective that it has since evolved independently in dozens of different animal groups. The authors reveal the many unique methods by which venomous animals deliver their cocktail of toxins and how these disrupt the physiology of the victims.
Jenner and Undheim also consider how humans have learnt to neutralise venom's devastating effects, as well as exploit the power of venom in innovative ways to create new drugs to treat a variety of serious conditions. Fully illustrated throughout, this illuminating guide will appeal to all those with an interest in the wondrous world of venom.
Chapter 1: Nature’s ultimate weapon
Chapter 2: The deadly diversity of venoms
Chapter 3: Probing the power of venom
Chapter 4: Dissecting the power of venom
Chapter 5: Evolving venoms
Chapter 6: Cultures, cures, quackery and cosmetics
Chapter 7: A microcosm of venom
Ronald Jenner is a Research Leader in the Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London. His empirical research investigates venom evolution, with a focus on neglected venomous invertebrates, while his theoretical work addresses conceptual issues in evolutionary biology.
Eivind Undheim is an ARC DECRA Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia. His main research interest is the evolution of venoms and venom systems. His research covers a great diversity of animals, with a particular focus on centipedes, one of the oldest groups of venomous land animals.