Ancient Death-Smile Potion Decoded?The thought of lots of Hollywood celebrities going around with scary, hemlock water-dropwort induced smiles is, well, scary.
for National Geographic News
June 2, 2009
Thousands of years before the Joker gassed comic book victims into a grinning death, Phoenician colonists on the island of Sardinia (map) were forcing smiles on the faces of the dead.
Now scientists say they know just how the ancient seafaring traders created the gruesome smiles some 2,800 years ago—not with a toxic gas like Batman's nemesis but with a plant-based potion.
And someday that plant might be used to Botox-like effect, perhaps reducing rather than adding smile lines, the researchers speculate.
Slow news day.