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Adaptations to Toxicity

We live in a world that surrounds us with poison. Plants, looking to their own best interests, produce an incredible array of toxic concoctions. Human industry has presented us with harmful compounds previously unknown in nature, like DDT and PCB's. Even essential nutrients, like salt and vitamins, can be toxic if given at the right dose. As Paracelsus the physician once said, "All substances are poisons, there is none which is not a poison." And yet, toxic as our environment is, some animals have come up with astounding adaptations that allow them to find their niche amongst these deadly plants. Come meet these incredible survivors:

REFERENCES:

Cheeke, PR and LR Shull. (1985) Natural toxicants in feeds and posionous plants. Westport: AVI publishing company, Inc.

Eckert. (1988) Animal Physiology.

Glander, KE Wright, PC Seigler DS Randrianosolo, V and B Randrianosolo. (1989) Consumption of cyanogenic bamboo by a newly discovered species of bamboo lemur. Am J Primatol. 19(2):119-124.

Munn, CA. Macaw biology and ecotourism or when a bird in the bush is worth two in the hand. (1992) New World parrots in crisis: Solutions from conservation biology. Ed. Beissinger, SR and NFR Snydes. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.