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Wildlife Defies Chernobyl Radiation 612

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the comeback-trails dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that wildlife has reappeared in the Chernobyl region even with high levels of radiation. Populations of animals both common and rare have increased substantially and there are tantalizing reports of bear footprints and confirmed reports of large colonies of wild boars and wolves. These animals are radioactive but otherwise healthy. A large number of animals died initially due to problems like destroyed thyroid glands but their offspring seem to be physically healthy. Experiments have shown the DNA strands have undergone considerable mutation but such mutations have not impacted crucial functions like reproduction. It is remarkable that such a phenomenon has occurred contrary to common assumptions about nuclear waste. The article includes some controversial statements recommending disposal of nuclear waste in tropical forests to keep forest land away from greedy developers and farmers"
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Wildlife Defies Chernobyl Radiation

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  • no worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:55PM (#15170073) Journal
    confirmed reports of large colonies of wild boars and wolves...have undergone considerable mutation but such mutations have not impacted crucial functions like reproduction.

    We're fine until we have confirmed reports of colonies of large wild boars and wolves

  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:56PM (#15170079) Homepage
    "radioactive but otherwise healthy"

    I recall a certain knight... a black one... who expressed similar optimism in the face of suffering personal maladies.

  • But ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:58PM (#15170082) Homepage Journal
    They have only whitnessed this over how many generations? I would imagine with every offspring, you have a handful more mutations. After a while, you have oatmeal.
    • Re:But ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dsci (658278) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:17PM (#15170175) Homepage
      I remember reading about thirteen years ago something similar about the Hiroshima radiation results on humans. The folks that were alive when irradiated had all sorts of the expected problems, and their kids too but to a lesser extent. The grandkids (and subsequent offspring) were showing no signs of the exposure.

      • Re:But ... (Score:5, Funny)

        by modecx (130548) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:25PM (#15170219)
        The grandkids (and subsequent offspring) were showing no signs of the exposure.

        Just to be clear, we are talking about the same Japan, right?
      • Diluting (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zbyte64 (720193)
        This isn't terribly suprising as the people exposed to this radiation and their offspring probably procreated with people who were not exposed. This would mean the introduced changes would be diluted every generation. I would not go and jump to the conclusion that our DNA have some undiscovered repairing abilities or some other "x-men" type ability...
      • Re:But ... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by woolio (927141)
        More likely they onle "survivors" were those that had some tolerance (or ability to handle) to radiation...

        I don't think they adapted. The ones that didn't survive didn't have the capability.
    • Re:But ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vreejack (68778) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:42PM (#15170298)
      No. Every generation tends to get rid of bad mutations. It's called natural selection. While a few alarming but non-fatal mutations will occasionally be expressed, most mutations will simply result in reduced fertility due to terminated abnormal pregnancy. But wild animals are generally fecund enough to make up for the losses.

      Consider that the average human conception has about three dangerous mutations even without Chernobyl. Why aren't we oatmeal? Because a goodly percentage of conceptions never make it past the blastocyst stage due to excessive nasty chromosomal damage, while we lucky survivors had fewer.
      • Re:But ... (Score:3, Funny)

        by Chr0nik (928538)
        Ok thats enough of that, your messing with our swamp thing fantasies.
      • No. Every generation tends to get rid of bad mutations. It's called natural selection.

        I know thats what you'd like to think, but its REALLY His Noodly Appendage making the area potentially habitable for Pirates again. There is simply not enough evidence to support any other conclusion.
      • Re:But ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Reziac (43301) * on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:15AM (#15171256) Homepage Journal
        Acto one study I read about, about 75% of all human fetuses are spontaneously aborted in the first three weeks, due to lethal mutations.

        Since the average human carries 25 to 75 lethal genes (depending on which study you believe), a high level of spontaenous "natural selection at work" should be no surprise.

    • Re:But ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wheany (460585) <wheany+sd@iki.fi> on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:21AM (#15170740) Homepage Journal
      Chernobyl happened 20 years ago. Some species, like mice, have probably had several dozen, if not hundreds of generations. Even dogs rarely live 20 years, and I'd imagine wolves to be the same. If that's true, assuming that a wolf first reproduces on average at the age of 2, there have been 10 generations of wolves after the Chernobyl accident. In any case, there has been time for several generations to be born.
  • No suprise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hsmith (818216) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:58PM (#15170083)
    I am sure there were horrible mutations at first, but mother nature has a strange ability to adapt rather well. I am sure their genetics are altered in strange ways, but I am sure they will live on.
    • Re:No suprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aqua OS X (458522) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:50PM (#15170323)
      I highly doubt this has anything to do with mother nature adapting in a relatively short period of time. Stuff like that is for comic books. Radiation levels, while still incredibly unhealthy, have dropped considerably.

      I would imagine animals and plantlife are not thriving or living as well as they should be. Radiation levels in outlaying areas have probbaly dropped to levels that allow life to screw faster then it is consumed by disease and cancer.

      Heck people that lived in the chemical waste dump of Love Canal could still have kids... but in a toxic situation like that you're gon'a have a flipper baby or two, and life expectancy is going to be fairly bad.

      This woman motorcycled through Chernobyl not to recently. In many parts radiation levels were safe enough for her to travel around. As I recall she carried a geiger counter, but didn't wear a radiation suit. She didn't venture around the epicenter of disaster, but she took a lot of rad photos, and saw wild life.
      http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/jour nal/articles.html [angelfire.com]

      But who knows, perhaps radiation has produced a race of super bears which are immune to nuclear weapons. If so, someone should notify Steven Colbert.
      • Re:No suprise (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wolfbaine (116306) on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:29AM (#15170762)
        It's not authorative but apparently Elena's story [angelfire.com] is a hoax [www.uer.ca]. According to the linked posting she was 30, not 26 at the time of writing and cannot ride a motorbike. According to the thread she is actually a tourguide [www.uer.ca] with Chernobylinterinform [chernobyl.info]. Sorry for ruining the fantasy.
        • Re:No suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Friday April 21, 2006 @01:31AM (#15170977) Homepage Journal
          That's good to know, but regardless of whether she's 26 or 30, or whether she rode a motorbike or a Jeep, the real question is whether or not the photos in the photo-essay are authentic. I've been reading through it and by and large I think the text is far less interesting and compelling than the photos.

          Anybody have any clue as to the authenticity of the photos?

          (Particularly, since we're talking about the wildlife in this thread, the ones of the mutant animals [angelfire.com]? Which she admits are not hers.)
          • Re:No suprise (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Reziac (43301) *
            As I recall, some of the photos were determined to be setups. Regardless, http://www.kiddofspeed.com/ [kiddofspeed.com] is a marvelously effective photo essay, so frankly I don't *care* if some parts are less than authentic.

            As to the deformed calf, it's possible within the species; genes for similar deformities already exist. Could be whatever was a weak point in the genome that gave rise to similar mutations, is also a weak point that can be assaulted by radiation. (A theory I made up this very instant, but even so seems qu
      • Re:No suprise (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Friday April 21, 2006 @02:09AM (#15171092)
        This woman motorcycled through Chernobyl not to recently. In many parts radiation levels were safe enough for her to travel around. As I recall she carried a geiger counter, but didn't wear a radiation suit. She didn't venture around the epicenter of disaster, but she took a lot of rad photos, and saw wild life.

        Those pictures turned out to be a hoax. The story was covered here.

        My wife and I recently went on a tour of the Nevada Test Site [google.com] when we were in Las Vegas several weeks ago. These tours are arranged by the Department of Energy which outsources them to a private firm. Essentially you ride around on a bus in the Nevada Test Site all day and get a really cool tour of the blast sites, the craters, the house, the rails, etc. Unfortunately the tour does not allow cameras. As for us, we figured we have no plans to ever have any kids anyway and so we signed up for the waiting list. We got in on a cancellation and ended up on a bus full of senior citizens with our tour guide, Ernie, with decades of experience in the atomic testing program. Ernie tended to downplay the safety implications of the testing done on the site. Well, he did mention the leaks and accidents but his voice dropped really low whenever he talked about them... he used the phrase "well, I make no bones about it". Whenever Ernie's voice dropped, you could look out the window and the bus would be passing a fenced area along the side of the road with big scary RADIOACTIVE signs at regular intervals fighting to stay visible above the grass. Ernie was a trip. If you are interested in a tour of the Nevada Test Site go soon while Ernie is still alive to be your tour guide.
  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:58PM (#15170086)

    He has found ample evidence of DNA mutations, but nothing that affected the animals' physiology or reproductive ability. "Nothing with two heads," he says.

    It's as if the positive changes are being selected in favor of the negative changes.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:58PM (#15170088) Journal
    ... with a space elevator. Get it into space, then use a disposable cargo unit to send it towards the sun.
    • You're calling building a space elevator trivial? Damn, what do you consider hard?
  • by Mr_Tulip (639140) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:59PM (#15170089) Homepage
    "The bear prints appear identical to the native brown bear, except that they seemingly belong to a 30 foot high specimen"
    the lead scientist was heard to say.

    There are also footprints belonging to a giant, dinosaur-like creature.

  • Godzilla vs Russian-Wolfzilla?

    scary part is, migratory animals; imagine a goose with bird flu getting a few random extra mutations.
  • by Hao Wu (652581)
    "disposal of nuclear waste in tropical forests to keep forest land away from greedy developers and farmers"

    Hmm.. increasing mutation rates where they are already sky-high, as opposed to the conventional wisdom of minimizing exposure.

    It's like adding nature to nature. I like it.

  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:02PM (#15170104) Homepage
    Not all damage to DNA from radiation is harmful. Cells have repair systems and can quickly repair breaks in DNA, with no long-term cellular consequence. Alternatively, the repair may not return the DNA to its original form, but may retain its integrity. If cellular damage is not repaired, it may prevent the cell from surviving or reproducing, or it may result in a viable but modified cell. These two outcomes have different results, leading either to deterministic or stochastic effects [Court of Appeals, 1999, pp. 37, 38].

    Source: http://www.yuccamountain.org/price003.htm [yuccamountain.org]
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:02PM (#15170105) Homepage Journal
    Leaking tanks of high-level bombmaking waste have made a huge area undevelopable. The animals are pleased as punch with this state of affairs.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:02PM (#15170106)
    It's not hard to imagine many of the conceptions about radiation exposure may have been a bit over estimated, simply because nobody has really been willing to undergo an experiment of that caliber. I would not believe the animals are enjoying their radiation poisoning however until I was able to ask them.
    • This is ENTIRELY hypothetical...

      But say we take, I dunno, the whole planet...and just douse it in some radiation. Just enough to cause a variety of small, minor mutations in a very large (or the entire) population.

      1) Any ones that result in sterility are gone, end of story...

      2) Lots of small minor mutations is more like tickling the DNA, whereas massive exposure and major mutations is more like kicking it. This results in a greater survival ratio.

      Transiently accelerate evolution, yanno? Maybe the dinosau
      • That's how they produce heavily resistant strands of bacteria (to just about everything -- not just radiation)

        Grow a colony in a petri dish. Nuke it until only 10% remain. Let it repopulate back to the original population, repeat ad infinitium.

        The bacteria you get at the end are frighteningly hard to kill.

        (That said, there is very limited data on the health effects of living in an environment with higher-than-normal (but not lethal) background radiation. Many of the people who survived chernobyl with n
      • Cancer = good? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dire Bonobo (812883) on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:25AM (#15170749)
        > But say we take, I dunno, the whole planet...and just douse it in some radiation.
        >
        > Transiently accelerate evolution, yanno?


        If by "transiently accelerate evolution" you mean "give lots of people cancer", then that'd probably work quite well. If you're looking for something more beneficial to humanity than millions of people dying in agony, well, I think you'd best keep looking.

        Don't think that because animals can survive in the region it's somehow beneficial to them. They'd still survive and populate the region if you took a machete and hacked pieces off of each animal, but they wouldn't be "improved" by the process. "Crippled but alive" is an improvement over dead, but it's a far cry from "whole and healthy".

        Don't mistake "not dead" for "new and improved".
      • Hmmm. Didn't Magneto have that plan, in essence?
      • You are aware, I hope, that this sort of thing is going on RIGHT NOW? Sadly, not as a government conspiracy to make killer mutant soldiers, although that would be cool.

        It has, in fact, been going on since.... (checks watch) ...the beginning of time. What we call "background radiation" is doing exactly what you talk about, it triggers mutations during cell division. Just not at a rate high enough to kill us as a species, because we've evolved protective measures to cope with it.

        But if you brought some alien
    • by poszi (698272) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @11:46PM (#15170577)
      Come on. Is anybody really surprized? Scientists for years were questioning the necessity of Chernobyl evacuations and creation of the excluded zone (some evacuations were necessary but the zone was generally too broad). The stress due to evacuations was more harmful than the radiation. In the official UNSCEAR report [unscear.org], these voices were included. People can safely live there now so why not the animals? The radiation level in the "zone" is no more than 10mSv/year. Although it is above the average world natural background radiation (2.4 mSv/year), there are a lot of places where people receive larger radiation doses without ANY harmful effects including Ramsar in Iran, where the doze is 260 mSv/year [uic.com.au], 26 times larger than in the Chernobyl zone.

      It is known (although ignored in strict radiation regulations) that the same dose received in short time is much more harmful than the dose received during longer times. It is probably because the cells have repair mechanism that can cope with small damage over long time while cannot efectively repair large damage in short time. There are even indications that small doses can be beneficial [wikipedia.org] by "training" the repair mechanism.

      • by comp.sci (557773) on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:44AM (#15170826)
        Don't act like you know what you are talking. There is a split in opinions, mainly between the IAEA and many scientists over the number of deaths caused by the catastrophe. The IAEA estimates about 60-something deaths total, while most actual estimates list 50,000+ deaths (short and long-term). Please search for pictures of deformed children that are still born today and the terrible effects the radiation had in the long term.
        Please dont falsely publish what your opinion as facts.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2006 @03:06AM (#15171240)
          I think your argument would be better if you could cite some of your sources (the parent post had couple of links to support his/her point). I guess I could just google it but how do I know I'm looking at the same sources that you used to make your argument?

          Also, pictures of deformed babies don't really support your argument either way except to include emotional aspect to this argument. Deformed babies are born everyday. What I think would be important is the number of deformed babies and type of deformalities compared to "normal" population.
        • I didn't discuss the effects of the dose people received just after the catastrophe. There is still debate about the number of deaths that can be attributed to the accident. But even this number of deaths is not astronomical. Even though the pictures of deformed children make a good emotional journalistic story, they can be found in any hospital anywhere and they are not a proof of anything. An the UNSCEAR report linked in my post above does not show evidence of increase in deformities.

          Another story is ho

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Absolutely not. There is complete agreement that around 60 people died from the effects of the accident (afaik 56, but some more will undoubtedly die from thyroid cancer).

          The disagreement is about the estimated additional deaths due to long term effects. WHO expects 4000 death among liquidators and the most exposed civilians with reasonable confidence and around 5000 more among the rest of the worlds population, but that number is so badly supported, it could be completely wrong. Eco-Wackos "expect" anyt
    • Possibly, the conceptions regarding what radiation exposure does to screw up those exposed are relatively true.

      Perhaps the understanding of just how freakishly robust nature can be in coming back from devastating damage is where the misunderstanding comes in.

      In the first generation, massive radiation exposure deaths did destroy the population and had a massive effect on birth rates for that generation.

      However, in nature, ecosystems are just that - systems. With most predators dead and most of the same speci
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:04PM (#15170116)

    "Experiments have shown the DNA strands have undergone considerable mutation but such mutations have not impacted crucial functions like reproduction. It is remarkable that such a phenomenon has occurred contrary to common assumptions about nuclear waste."

    Ummm... the animals are radioactive and their DNA has undergone considerable mutation. What exactly is contrary here to the common assumptions of radiological contamination? Sure matches my own assumptions.

    Sure they can reproduce but I wouldn't exactly be jumping with glee over this "recovery". The damage merely has yet to express itself.

    Though if any of the local turtles grow to human size and start dressing like ninjas, I'll take back everything I said.

    • Sure they can reproduce but I wouldn't exactly be jumping with glee over this "recovery". The damage merely has yet to express itself.

      So what you're saying is, regardless of the lack of evidence for harmful mutation that should be evident, there MUST be harm becase you KNOW that radiation causes it?

      Way to be scientific about this.
  • by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin@lunarworksFREEBSD.ca minus bsd> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:05PM (#15170120) Homepage
    A former Soviet Republic has developed Radioactive Bears?

    Someone get Stephen Colbert on the phone right away! The world must be warned!
  • that human presence is more hazardous to wildlife than radiation.
  • by gearmonger (672422) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:06PM (#15170123)
    Life imitates art yet again.

    Oh, wait.

  • I wonder how much of a factor evolution might be in the resistance of these animals (in addition to the overall decrease in radioactivity after the accident). For example, the article mentions that the first generation or two after the accident tended to have deformities, but current generations don't. Perhaps only the animals which were resistant to deformities were able to reproduce and pass on their radiation-resistant genes to the next generation?

    One could test this by seeing if "control" animals from o
  • Radio Acive Pollin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Photar (5491) <photar@@@photar...net> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:09PM (#15170140) Homepage
    Could radio active pollin spread and cause problems?
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      I'd imagine that pollen is accounted for just as dust, and outside of a specific radius the concentration is likely to be safe. Even if an irradiated pollen yielded a plant far from Chernobyl, the concentration of radiation would still be very low throughout the plant as a whole.
  • Not that surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by onco_p53 (231322) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:09PM (#15170141) Homepage Journal
    I am not that surprised really, that is what natural selection is about. The DNA coding for many genes also has quite a bit of redundancy built in, naturally with large radiation doses critical genes may be damaged, but given enough time favourable mutants will arise.

    It reminds me of the large scale experiments done on plant breeding [1] where radioactive material was placed in the centre of a field of crops, and favourable mutants were selected. I love telling this story to anti-GE people, who probably eat plant products produced as a result of these experiments done predominantly in the 1970's. At least with GE only a single well studied change is being made.

    [1] http://www.nias.affrc.go.jp/eng/gfs/index.html [affrc.go.jp]
  • by DirePickle (796986)
    These animals are radioactive but otherwise healthy. A large number of animals died initially due to problems like destroyed thyroid glands but their offspring seem to be physically healthy. Experiments have shown the DNA strands have undergone considerable mutation but such mutations have not impacted crucial functions like reproduction.
    I think I've seen this movie.
  • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:11PM (#15170147) Journal
    This story was covered in this months (last months now? the next issue is due soon) National Geographic. Definately one of the better featured pieces of the last few months
  • Controversial? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:25PM (#15170225)
    The article includes some controversial statements recommending disposal of nuclear waste in tropical forests to keep forest land away from greedy developers and farmers

    I'd say less controversial and more hysterical. Of course, were I one of the animals being exposed to that "developer repellent" I'd might feel a bit differently.

    Larry Niven [geocities.com] had some similar ideas, once upon a time.
  • long-term effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:27PM (#15170231) Homepage Journal
    Well, a lot of animals have life cycles under a year. Even bears don't often live past 20, right? And they become sexually mature and reproduce within a few years. The radiation wouldn't interrupt the life of short-lived animals.

    So, not everyone living in an irradiated area will have their flesh falling off, but for us long-lifed humans, the life would be filled with more misery and an early ending. Maybe cancer at 20. And for normal human socities, "old farts" (those over 30) are really what drive the society.
  • long-term effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gansch (939712) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:46PM (#15170310)
    I took classes from a professor studying worms and spiders in the Chernobyl area, and he found remarkable genetic mutations (e.g., changes in the number and size of chromosomes, large sections of additional DNA, etc.) and behavioral changes (e.g., worms switching to from asexual to sexual reproduction).

    Since these organisms have such short lifespans, there have been ample generations since the nuclear accident for the organisms to go locally extinct or mutate into different species. But, that has not been the case. These local populations have continued to survive without deleterious effects on the population level.

    Populations of organisms with longer lifespans may take longer to recover to pre-blast levels (although from the sound of the article and my previous knowledge the opposite has occurred) and may experience a genetic bottleneck effect (which may be countered by mutations), but genomes are resiliant and it is unlikely that the populations would never recover.
  • by Winlin (42941) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:48PM (#15170315)
    from a few weeks ago. They didn't breed those in Europe; they just caught a few Chernobyl ones. They would have got a bear too, but those things move amazingly fast on all eights.
  • by subreality (157447) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @10:51PM (#15170333)
    • Sure enough, life adapts when it has to.
    • The current radiation levels are probably a lot lower than the levels when the area was freshly sprayed with molten core and irradiated particles.
    • The radiation isn't *that* bad. We'd consider it wildly unacceptable if 1 in 10,000 people died over the course of 5 years. Animals won't notice.
    • Getting rid of humans is *great* for wildlife.

    So why are we surprised that any of this is happening?
    • Gather around. Come one, come all. Time for the great DigiShaman to make a prediction... Ahem

      Let see now. According to the extreme environmentalists, it's human activities that are causing the greatest harm to the planet. We also know that while radiation is bad for humans, it's not bad for natural life. Ergo, radioactive material is *good* for the planet.

      Soon, I expect environmentalists (the extreme wacko kind, not all mind you) to endorse nuclear technology. Not just any technology, but the kind designed
  • by Mistshadow2k4 (748958) on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:32AM (#15170774) Journal
    It has been postulated that life wouldn't exist the closer one gets to the center of the galaxy because of the ambient radiation, and, in fact, a system with life would need to be positioned the same as our solar system is to avoid the radiation. But if life on Earth can adapt to high radiation so quickly, how much that does that improve the chances of life near the rim of the galaxy where the ambient radiation is higher but not so incredibly high?
  • Animal Mortality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Detritus (11846) on Friday April 21, 2006 @12:53AM (#15170861) Homepage
    Think about the natural causes of mortality for wild animals, are radiation effects going to have a substantial impact on populations? Cancer is largely a disease of the old.

    • Infant Mortality
    • Starvation
    • Predation
    • Accidental Injury
    • Disease
    • Genetic Damage and Cancer
  • by MickLinux (579158) on Friday April 21, 2006 @01:41AM (#15171003) Journal
    The article pointed out that the radiation has kept humans out, and allowed wildlife to thrive.

    ...He went on: "I have wondered if the small volumes of nuclear waste from power production should be stored in tropical forests and other habitats in need of a reliable guardian against their destruction by greedy developers".


    Let me assure you, this is no protection against greedy developers. In our own city (Chesapeake), there is a section called Deep Creek that had a dump. Said greedy developers wanted to develop said dump; local residents fought it on the basis of contamination and danger to homeowners. Said developer waited twenty years until said homeowners no longer had the strength or will to say said statements before the zoning board. Then the City Council quietly gave permission, after which a housing development was built upon said dump, and after that homeowners discovered trash and contamination under their houses. Said houses had to be destroyed, said developer profited and moved on, said city council bided their time, and in the end only the purchasers were hurt, as far as I know. Said greedy developers will not be stopped by so minor a thing as radiation in the way of their profit.


    Enough said.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:09AM (#15171508)
    To give a reliable overview, you'd have to track ALL the animals there and observe the population. Here is what you would find:

    Some die instantly at the blast.
    Some die within the next hours.
    Some die within the next days/weeks/months.
    Fertility goes DOWN, but those THAT have offspring will have a higher chance to raise them to maturity (less competition).
    Again, of those some will die due to mutation.
    Some will have a shorter life expectance. As long as they mature and can raise at least one generation of offspring, it's not so important.
    Also keep in mind that quite a few animals CAN only raise one generation of offspring, they die after giving birth/laying eggs.

    Bottom line, of course animals will survive, as a group. Humans would too, the body count would be incredibly high and the chance that YOU, as an individual, survive, is incredibly small. But as a species, you can fairly reliably survive a nuking.

"Just the facts, Ma'am" -- Joe Friday

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