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Fry's tattoos include CT scanned images of Komodo dragon skulls, a stylised snak

Fry's tattoos include CT scanned images of Komodo dragon skulls, a stylised snake and an adrenalin molecule.

By Matt Finch

His body may be adorned by tattoos of snakes, Komodo dragons and an adrenaline molecule, but Bryan Fry is only one of many scientists whose research interests are glorified in ink.

Matt Finch is a freelance writer and education consultant.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The phone rings for a long time before the call goes through.

“Who is this?”

I introduce myself.

The speaker repeats: “Who is this?” It sounds like he’s outdoors. A gust of wind blots out his voice and we lose the connection.

I wait and call again. “Dr Fry, I’m calling from Australasian Science.”

“I’m sorry, I was taking out the trash when I saw a venomous swamp snake. Of course I had to try and catch it.” The term “scientific pursuit” is a literal – and hazardous – one for Brian Grieg Fry of the University of Queensland.

From mammals like the slow loris to sea urchins, Komodo dragons and, inevitably, snakes, Fry has made it his life’s work to understand the creatures that use one of nature’s most fascinating mechanisms: venom. The American-born biologist has travelled from Antarctica to Pakistan’s Sindh desert as he studies how animals inflict toxic wounds on their victims.

Fry’s passion is so great that he has covered his body with tattoos relating to his work. He has a stylised image of a snake on his back; biohazard symbols on each arm; twin X-ray scans of a Komodo dragon; and an adrenalin molecule on the back of his neck – “a ready recharge for when I’m out in the field chasing animals,” he jokes. The longitude and latitude of Antarctica, tattooed over his heart, commemorate a “scientifically magnificent, emotionally...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.