- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Venomous Bite Kills Snake Researcher
27 September 2001 7:00 pm
A field expedition to a remote region of Myanmar in Southeast Asia ended in tragedy earlier this month, when a prominent snake expert succumbed to a poisonous snakebite. Joseph Slowinski, 38, is believed to be the first academic herpetologist killed by a snakebite in the field, though at least two others have died of bites from laboratory animals.
Slowinski was bitten when, in an effort to identify a snake that had already attacked another expedition member, he reached into a bag that contained a deadly multibanded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), according to Amy Cramer of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) in San Francisco. Slowinski died 30 hours later on 12 September at the team's field site deep in northeast Myanmar. Rescue helicopters were stymied by monsoon rains and could not arrive in time.
Slowinski specialized in the evolutionary relationships of neurotoxic snakes, making more than 10 forays into Myanmar to study them. He joined the academy as a curator in 1997. Recently he received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to extend the work into China. "He discovered many, many new species," says Robert Drewes, curator of the herpetology department at CAS. "He was a remarkably productive guy." Among his accomplishments were the discovery of a new species of cobra and the founding of Contemporary Herpetology, an online journal.
The herpetology community mourned Slowinski's death last week, as the field team returned from the Burmese jungle. "I think everybody's just shocked," says Cornell herpetologist Harry Greene. To honor Slowinski, colleagues at the Center for North American Herpetology in Lawrence, Kansas, have established an award in his name for excellence in the classification of venomous snakes.