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January 30, 2008

Comments

Andy Philip

What about the poisonous snails? Where do they come on the list?

Diarmid

I expect they're too deadly for science to have properly quantified.

nyamuknya

Poison dart frog??? And hippos don't even make your list.
According to AOL the stats are:

10. Bear – (grizzly, polar and black combined) - Responsible for: An estimated 5-10 fatalities a year

9. Shark (esp bull sharks) - Responsible for: An estimated 100 fatalities a year.

8. Jellyfish (esp box) - Responsible for: An estimated 100 fatalities a year

7. Hippo - Responsible for: An estimated 100-150 fatalities a year

6. Elephant - Responsible for: An estimated 300-500 fatalities a year

5. Croc – Responsible for: An estimated 600-800 fatalities a year

4. Big cats (all but esp mountain lion) - Responsible for: An estimated 800 fatalities a year

3. Scorpions - Responsible for: An estimated 800-2,000 fatalities a year

2. Snakes (esp King Cobra) - Responsible for: An estimated 50-125,000 fatalities a year

1. Mosquito - Responsible for: An estimated 2-3 million fatalities a year

Diarmid

I expect scientists debate this all the time, which is why they haven't got around to curing cancer yet.

Colin

Mosquitos don't actually kill people, in the way that a mountain lion or a swarm of killer bees might.

Its not really their fault that they are vectors for a potentially fatal parasitic protozoan.

This whole thread is giving the mosquito an unduly bad rep.

Diarmid

That's a very good point. They're hardly responsible for the deaths when all they're doing is sucking a little blood -- not even in the way that, say, a heroin dealer could be said to be responsible for someone who O.D.s on drugs they've bought from them, even though all the heroin dealer is doing is selling a little bit of a proscribed substance.

I suppose there's intention to harm (big cats, killer bees) and knowledge that harm might be caused (heroin dealers). Mosquitos don't intend to harm anyone and have no knowledge that they pass on protozoan parasites. So I guess they're off the hook.

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