Chapter 31 Mystery
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(The fish more poisonous than cyanide)

Fugu Poisoning
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Poisoning on the High Seas

From the middle to late 1700s, Captain James Cook commanded several voyages of discovery to the South Pacific for Great Britain. The discovery of new lands brought him many riches; the discoveries of new animals, however, were not always pleasant.

September 7, 1774, was a remarkable day on the HMS Resolution. The ship's butcher died from a fall, there was a solar eclipse, and a clerk traded some cloth for a freshly caught fish.

Although Cook ate only a few bites of the fish, within a few hours, the captain felt "an extraordinary weakness" in his limbs, lost all sense of touch, and could not sense the weight of objects. It took eleven days for the men who ate the fish to recover. A pig and dog who ate some of the fish's organs were dead by morning. As you read through this chapter, look for clues as to how eating this fish could produce such deadly effects.