Mental Floss

Radiation's Effect on Nature

Jill Harness

While everyone continues to worry and wonder about the potential threat caused by Japan's leaking nuclear reactors, many have reflected on the world's single largest nuclear disaster, the Chernobyl meltdown—which occurred 25 years ago today. But few have looked at the effect the radiation had on wild animals.

The Quantum Biologist has a fascinating article detailing just how the creatures of Chernobyl fared after the accident. Some of the most noticeable changes aren't the mutated, super-powered effects we read about in comic books, but instead involve simple, but strange color changes. Pine trees grow red needles and crows have turned pure white.

The article reflects not only on the immediate changes, but also on what effect the radiation could have on the long-term evolution and survival of these animals and those near the power plant in Japan.