Nature’s Killer Cocktails: VENOM Science!

[MUSIC] Alex I’ll take “Potent Potables” for $200 please. I may move slow, but my venom can kill
you in minutes. Joe What is a cone snail! That is correct. I’ll take “Potent Potables” for $400 please Alex. Whether it’s Mortal Kombat or my venomous
tail, play against me and you could see a “fatality”. Joe again. What is a scorpion! Yes. “Potent Potables” for $600 Alex. [OPEN] Only a few of nature’s toxic avengers earn
the title of “venomous.” If a toxin has to be ingested, inhaled, or
absorbed, we call that animal poisonous, like these frogs. But venomous animals deliver it direct, usually
into a wound. Biting, stinging, stabbing, that sort of thing. We find venom all over the animal kingdom,
and there’s as many different venoms as there are venomous species. Animals with spines and stingers often use
venom for defense. Animals with toxic mouthparts or tentacles
tend to use their venom to hunt. Others use venom to eat or even to fight during
mating season… just when you thought the platypus couldn’t get any weirder. So what’s the most venomous animal? It’s tough to say. Scientists usually rank venoms using a number
called the “LD50”, the dose it takes to turn half of test animals from alive to…
no longer alive. The lower the LD50 the deadlier the venom. But most venoms didn’t evolve to target
lab mice, so that number doesn’t always tell the whole story. When we add in factors like how often people
are bitten or stung and how many actual deaths that animal causes… the winner for “deadliest”
is clear. Why’d it have to be snakes? Venomous snakes make some of nature’s most
deadly and complex chemical cocktails. They manufacture that venom using modified
saliva glands, and deliver it using hypodermic needles disguised as teeth. On paper, a soft, ectothermic noodle isn’t
the ideal predator, but with venom in their arsenal, snakes don’t have to outrun or
fight their prey. They just paralyze it with neurotoxins, or
let it bleed to death from the inside by injecting hemotoxins. Who needs legs when you’ve got chemistry? When toxinologist Bryan Fry mapped snake venom
genes onto an evolutionary tree, he found that snakes branched off from lizards about
100 million years ago, but their venom was even older. Venom is so biologically expensive that many
modern snakes have stopped making it, but the ancestor of all snakes was venomous. The earliest venom proteins were borrowed
from other parts of the body, where they did normal jobs, like control blood pressure or
how nerves work. If they were present in saliva, and happened
to kill prey faster, that species gained an advantage. As venoms became more toxic, evolution isolated
them in the mouth so snakes wouldn’t poison themselves, and they developed sophisticated
delivery methods. Venom genes across the animal kingdom are
some of the fastest-evolving genes we know of. Snakes are constantly changing up their formula
to stay one bite ahead of their prey developing resistance. Even though a cobra can take down an elephant,
to a honey badger, it looks like dinner, and several other snake-eating animals have figured
out venom immunity. Like honey badgers, mongooses and hedgehogs
have tiny mutations in the switches that control muscle contraction, so venoms that cause paralysis
don’t work on them. And the opossum is so awesome that one ingredient
from its blood can neutralize a wide variety of snake venoms. Scientists are studying it as a possible universal
anti-venom. Today, antivenoms are made by injecting nonlethal
doses of venom into a large animal. Its immune system goes to work dispatching
antibodies to inactivate the venom, the antibodies are purified from the blood, and we have an
anti-venom cocktail ready for some unlucky human. But a few people think we can train our own
immune systems to fight venom. Self-immunizers regularly inject small amounts
of venom into their own body, hopefully not enough to kill them, but enough to get their
antibody factories going. I shouldn’t have to say this, but DO NOT
try this at home. SI-ing sounds like a ticket to the Darwin
Awards if you ask me, but still, those who do it claim they can take lethal doses of
venom and walk away. Of all venomous animals, we seem to have a
special interest in snakes. Brain scans have shown that we can detect
snakes before we consciously see them, there’s even special neurons in primate brains that
only respond to images of snakes. The evolutionary pressure of not becoming
dinner for a hungry snake favored primates with more complex vision. More complex vision required larger, more
complex brains, and larger more complex brains are what set our ancestors down the path of
becoming us. Anthropologist Lynne Isbell calls this the
“Snake Detection Theory” of primate evolution. It’s certainly only part of the story of
our big brains, but to come down from the trees and bite into a world of knowledge,
maybe we just needed a little help from a snake. Stay curious.


  1. Owanaemi Davies

    March 13, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Honey Badger doesn't give a FUCK

  2. RedTegu

    April 4, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    If you mix venom up with poison i will be very dissapointed

  3. David Krasa

    April 24, 2017 at 6:41 am


  4. David Krasa

    April 24, 2017 at 6:43 am

    solve the difrence

  5. Damian Hines

    April 26, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Dr. Henery Eisfelter was a (going to spell this wrong) Homeipathic Doctor took Black widow spider venom for his heart. One day was bitten by a Black widow and survided.

  6. MyNameIs _Anh

    April 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Do more kids or child maybe like why do you need to sleep or eat -Evie

  7. Ausintune

    April 27, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    everything is poison if you really think about it.

  8. Peter Mccann

    May 10, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    No mention for Cubozoans

  9. Itooosh

    May 18, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I really liked the analogy at the end to the bible. It's an atheistic view that makes sense of that.

  10. Ray S

    May 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm


  11. wholeNwon

    May 29, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    It's there ARE. And you seem like such a bright guy.

  12. Wither

    June 19, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    can a cobra kill itself by accidentally biting itself and injecting its venom into itself? o_O

  13. Daniel Ferrer-Loyola

    June 22, 2017 at 11:19 am

    keep making videos I'd love to learn more on just about anything, by just watching your videos! 🤔👌👍

  14. Marx The Destroyer

    June 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Who else got the two questions at the beginning right?

  15. Haireguli Yimamu

    July 5, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    The theory of evolution is not real !!!!!!!

  16. Haireguli Yimamu

    July 5, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    The theory of evolution is not real !!!!!!!

  17. korey losey

    July 7, 2017 at 3:41 am

    There's no way to type Parstl toung

  18. korey losey

    July 7, 2017 at 3:41 am

    PS I'm bad at spelling sorry

  19. Stormgem Thunder

    July 7, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    wait arnet all snakes venomous but not all of them use it to kill?

  20. Cody Greenland

    July 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Let me get this right….. When we put down our pets, we're basically acting like a rattlesnake?

  21. Amberlon

    July 13, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I love snakes

  22. - Tielessin -

    July 15, 2017 at 11:41 am

    There are alot of captions ^^

  23. Joshua Hunt

    July 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Okay, so if you inhale something toxic, it still counts as poison? Ok, just checking. Apparently "poison gas" would be an accurate term to describe a gas that kills if inhaled.

  24. cosmic nerd

    July 18, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    There is no welsh option 😂

  25. Saul Contreras

    August 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I think we probably can train our bodies to be am one to certain poisons and venoms, but it's a risk. You would have to be very cautious of what you're consuming .

  26. S T A L K E R #SavetheLotus

    August 11, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Danger nooodle

  27. #1 Tako

    August 27, 2017 at 2:16 am

    No mention of Bill Haast? The guy who basically invented snake bite resistance through self innoculations of small nonlethal doses of snake venom?

  28. sogerc1

    September 28, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    So, self immunization, huh?

  29. hey it's me

    October 1, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Does the beginning remind anybody of the odd one is out

  30. Ashur Montalvo

    October 7, 2017 at 2:09 am


  31. MilkyMuscleMommy

    October 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    my name jeff

  32. The Animal Channel

    October 15, 2017 at 6:06 am

    If it bites you and you die, it's venomous. If you bite it and you die, it's poisonous.

  33. Nikola Logina

    October 23, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    i love snaks <3

  34. Titanic

    October 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm


  35. smileforthejudge1

    October 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I thought about mudvayne for the first time in quite a while. Ld50 was a good album.

  36. Damian Bisha

    November 5, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    If i will start shooting my self from smallest to biggest caliber's bullets will i develop immunity?

  37. Irked Particle

    November 7, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Bill Haast

  38. Nico

    November 8, 2017 at 9:44 pm


  39. Pit Tan

    November 9, 2017 at 2:18 am

    I have a question why are small people fast and tall people too but size medium is normal.

  40. McKenzie 22

    November 9, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I went from a f to an a in science thanks

  41. hypersonic blabla

    December 4, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    you have to include lucifer reference in the end is it?….

  42. Apex Predator

    December 7, 2017 at 5:30 am

    I think the snake detection theory is pretty dumb

  43. Sabrina Brown

    December 21, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    to the joke a the end maybe thats why we look out for snakes.

  44. El Link de YouTube

    December 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    -"Muchas grasias".

    Me-"Muchas gracias", not "grasias", what a pronuntiation!

    English people-What's that, spanish?

  45. Madera Inteligente

    January 18, 2018 at 3:25 am

    honey badger dont give a fu k

  46. Bird Dog

    January 19, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    platypi have everything. they sweat milk, swim, and have venomous back claws.

  47. Felix Jacobsen

    January 22, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Sharp field center circle ear early secret error scene.

  48. Le Noctem

    January 22, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Rhymes with "orange"


  49. Emma Penca

    January 25, 2018 at 8:22 am

    YES Harry Potter references!! IT MAKES ME HAPPY

  50. Digvijay Singh Rana

    January 30, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks for not showing any lizard

  51. Jack Carlson

    February 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    When I was stationed in Djibouti, we got several warnings about black mambas. Command assured us that the snake had been removed from the base (you could even still see the occasional mongoose running around) but that even the dessicated skeletons of the snakes remained deadly to the touch. Not sure if that was ever actually proven true or just an abundance of caution, but it certainly gave me a few bad dreams.

  52. Dragon GamerGirl

    May 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm



  53. GeoPoliticsJunkie

    May 8, 2018 at 2:19 am

    whales got big brains by being bats under water….

  54. Aiden Stafford

    May 10, 2018 at 9:56 am

    What about the Komodo dragon???

  55. Santiago Pareja

    May 13, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Con gusto

  56. Alejandro Lara

    May 23, 2018 at 3:14 am

    Hello!!! It would be amazing if you make a video about poisonous plants 😀

  57. Courtney Buras

    June 5, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    We were in a dog park with around 5 dogs and 12 humans and even when a woman finally made a noise when she nearly stepped on one, it took me a minute to see it. Along with everyone else. And, surprisingly, no dogs went to investigate. Sooo, I'm not buying her snake awareness theory.

  58. Robo Dragon

    June 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    snek detecc

  59. SpeedyShell

    June 23, 2018 at 1:03 am

    What if a snake bit its tongue?

  60. Music ShowMan

    July 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

    <b>a possum is awesome </b>

  61. RomeosChannel2105

    July 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    What's funny is that the bible actually says that because of snake we now the difference between good and evil

  62. santos solon ubeda herrera

    July 25, 2018 at 6:52 am

    You publish awesome content!

  63. Barbara Zhang

    October 1, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    you don't speak parseltongue.

  64. Eric Taylor

    October 13, 2018 at 7:04 am

    4:00 "Hopefully not enough to kill them." Well, if they do they are no longer self-immunizers.

  65. Nur Shahirah Hanif

    October 18, 2018 at 10:58 am

    snake=nope rope

  66. Hazrit. chr

    October 27, 2018 at 10:02 am

    3:16 har har joe

  67. Oneily Seneviratne

    November 17, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Harry Potter braaaaaaaaaaa.

  68. TheHentai Tentacle

    December 4, 2018 at 9:12 am

    I knew it was conesnail

  69. Esean

    December 29, 2018 at 2:18 am

    odd1sout copycat!

  70. Stephanie Walker

    January 4, 2019 at 2:01 am

    But snakes are cute…..

  71. Mr. Black

    January 9, 2019 at 2:05 am

    I have an interesting question, does a spider bite effect other spiders? Like would a black widow parilize another spider if it bit them?

  72. Pratik. Halder

    January 12, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Wearing specs won't make you Harry Potter

  73. GreenFreak

    January 24, 2019 at 3:47 am

    "Danger Noodle!"

  74. RaceGod SRT

    January 29, 2019 at 6:45 am

    I regret watching this in my bed when I saw the spider

  75. Thea Kraft

    February 2, 2019 at 4:56 am

    I'm here for the Harry Potter references

  76. Emalyn Scott

    February 14, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    I've read Venomous, it's really good

  77. Yambuh Keder

    February 23, 2019 at 12:09 pm


  78. Akash Sandhu

    February 23, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Who need legs when you got chemistry

  79. Keanun Moskaluk

    February 24, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Wait, if komodo dragons are deemed venomous then humans are too, both have extremely infectious bites, rather than a chemical cocktail.

  80. gray man

    February 27, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    I like snakes

  81. Goldfish Death

    March 1, 2019 at 12:32 pm


  82. James Ward-Parrish

    March 15, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I wonder if we developed that fear/ability to detect snakes when we were a humanoid… watching not to tread on a poisonous snake, or whether we developed it when we were little mice like creatures watching not to get eaten.

  83. mark burress

    March 25, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    The oldest snakes are pythons and boas.

  84. Antmananthony

    April 3, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I like just because of the parcel tounge.

  85. Umbral Assassin

    April 15, 2019 at 2:43 am

    "Honey Badger don't give a-"

  86. Bayan Muzlu Süt

    May 22, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    F**k!! there is no seperate terms for venomous or poisonous in my native language! they all same! just "Zehirli"

  87. Dragoș Bronzebeard

    June 1, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you ancestor sneks for our big brains

  88. Elizabeth Ellis

    June 4, 2019 at 1:08 am

    Indiana Jones here

  89. heather haze

    June 12, 2019 at 10:07 am

    SnakeS kill on average 150 000 ppl a year!!!!

  90. stewart LIL

    June 19, 2019 at 12:27 am

    KING COBRA in the House

  91. The SpyTM

    July 10, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I have a pet snake O_______O

  92. Eieder Me

    July 17, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Snake it of on the my a Snake? Eye on Not Human(。ŏ_ŏ)✊ ✋(>:> )Snake help I Eye Red no

  93. Chainy Rabbit

    August 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Lol Toxic Avengers

  94. Tyler Newman

    August 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Potables are things one drinks. I know its small, but I have to be that guy. I don't have a choice. I mean, do you think I asked for this existence?

  95. Daniel Shepherd

    September 3, 2019 at 1:04 am

    would like to learn more about the actually studied science…. you spend about 40% on the evolution – There's better stuff to learn about. Evolutionary science is a field unto it' self that I would rather study later, when I cared.

  96. neelima menon

    September 16, 2019 at 9:06 am

    You mean snake curious

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