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Strychnine structureStrychnine seems to be a commonly searched entry in the ChemSpider database. I am not sure whether that means there are poisoners among the users or whether it is people hoping to find out more about the recent case of a man accused of poisoning his neighbors’ dogs with a gopher bait pesticide containing strychnine. Nasty and something no veterinarian wants to have to deal with.

But, did strychnine kill the dinosaurs?

8 Responses to “Did Strychnine Kill the Dinosaurs?”

Do you mean LD50 of 10 mg/kg?

For a vegetarian dinosaur weighing 100 tonnes (e.g. Argentinosaurus ), a toxic dose would amount to one kilogram of strychine, which would mean the animal would have to eat a vast quantity of any strychnine-containing plant material. However, archeopteryx only grew to about half a meter or so in height and weighed just a few kilos so would need a much smaller total dose. The LD50 range can be as low as 1 mg/kg. Individual people have been known to die from as little as a 5 mg total dose of strychnine.

Every time I hear the word strychnine I recall a book I read a few years ago called the Diary of Jack the Ripper () . In that book Maybrick, the so-called Ripper (and diarist) used strychine…”He had become addicted to arsenic and strychnine after a bout with malaria, and often mixed the drugs with his food. While arsenic was frequently prescribed for headaches, it was also used as an aphrodisiac-a benefit that James shared with a mistress in London.”
Now, while the book itself was a great read…and I recommend it for its excellent plot…there are many interesting comments including http://www.parmaq.com/truecrime/JackTheRipper1.htm and eventually a confession from the author it was a forgery (http://www.casebook.org/suspects/james_maybrick/mb-con.bjan5.html)
From dinosaurs to Strychnine to Jack the Ripper to forgery…how’s that for “semantic”

Yep, context is all, even when it comes to poisoning

Very interesting. You know, they don’t even know for sure what caused the decline of the romans. Lead, mosquito’s, etc. How difficult to know of what happened to dinosaurs. Their bodies might have been contorted due to what happens starting from death. Any poison found in them? Peter.

That’s right Peter, no one knows for certain, and as I alluded to in one of my follow up comments, there’d have to be a rather huge intake of the plant to cause death like this, I suspect something altogether different was the cause. Still, it is an interesting piece of investigation and even if it only shows itself up to be a negative result then it was worth reporting if only to exclude this notion from future studies.

db

Peter,

You seem to know a little about the Romans…did they lose jobs from drunkeness?

Lisa kiss kiss

All right, I’ve decided to come clean. About the Romans. I know, I know, you’re wondering what I know about their demise; Well, it’s like this…

I was there. Not in Rome, not there!!, but in New York, Rome, New York. There’s a big Air Force air base, and the people are involved in research.

It’s not generally known, and I probably shouldn’t say what I know, but the thing is, what happened there will come out one day, it might was well be me who makes the first deal — that’s usually who gets the best deal from the prosecutors, right?

Besides if anyone asks, I’l; just deny this. I never said anything. I won’t say anything, honest Dutch.