"Textile cone" 
Photographer: Richard Ling (richard@research.canon.com.au) - Location: Cod Hole, Great Barrier Reef,

Week in Geek: Killer snails edition

Updated

One of nature’s slowest moving predators may be the source for your next painkiller. Venomous cone snails (or Conus magus) provide an amazing example of naturally occurring painkillers, albeit as part of a lethal cocktail.

Mandë Holford, an an associate professor of chemical biology at Hunter College in New York, studies the venom in these snails in the hopes of developing new and better drugs for humans. Along with colleagues at Hunter and at Indiana University, Prof. Holford just published a paper on how it might be possible to isolate the painkiller aspect of the venom and deliver it across the blood-brain barrier to more effectively control pain.

While the science of drug design is amazing in itself, I want to focus for a moment on just how crazy it is that these venomous snails exist. Watch this video and see for yourself how a seemingly innocuous shell (housing a cone snail) turns deadly when a fish swims a little too close.

KILLER SNAILS WITH NEUROTOXIC HARPOONS! Someone call Hollywood, STAT.

Here’s some more geek from the week:

Keep on geeking!

@Summer_Ash In-house Astrophysicist

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Week in Geek: Killer snails edition

Updated