Title: Wildlife in Chernobyl: Debate over mutations and populations of plants and animals in the radioactive fallout exclusion zone
Source: Slate Magazine
Author: Mary Mycio
Date: January 21, 2013
Do Animals in Chernobyl’s Fallout Zone Glow?
[...] Whenever I tell anyone about my encounters with Chernobyl wildlife, the questions are always the same: Do they have two heads? Do they glow? Do you glow?
Actually, in the early years, when contaminated dust coated everything, researchers found countless examples of the monstrous mutations imagined in 1950s horror movies: malformations, dwarfism, gigantism, strange growths, and, yes, even some glowing.
But those effects were seen only in plants. While Attack of the Giant Leaves doesn’t seem as horrible as the Creature With the Atom Brain, no one has ever found seriously deformed wild animals (or zombies) after the Chernobyl accident. Mutant animals born in the wild die or get eaten before they can be discovered.
[...] rodents studied in the 1990s had shorter life spans and smaller litters than their counterparts outside the zone. Stag beetles had uneven horns. But it didn’t affect their population numbers.
And because the health of wild animal species is usually judged by their numbers rather than the conditions of individuals, Chernobyl wildlife is considered healthy. [...]
See also: Biologist on Mutated Butterflies: Study is overwhelming in its implications for humans -- Japan Researcher: Insects were believed to be very resistant to radiation -- Irregularly developed eyes, malformed antennae, much smaller wings (PHOTO)
Published: February 17th, 2013 at 2:25 pm ET