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Melanin Protection: Chernobyl Black Frogs Reveal Evolution in Action

Extremes of the color gradient of the Eastern San Antonio frog (Hyla orientalis). On the left, a specimen captured in Chernobyl inside the high contamination zone; on the right, a specimen captured outside the Exclusion Zone. Credit: Germán Orizaola/Pablo Burraco, CC BY

The largest release of radioactive material into the environment in human history occurred in 1986, with an accident on April 26 at reactor four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Severe impacts on the environment and the human population resulted from the acute exposure to high doses of radiation. But more than three decades after the accident, Chernobyl has become one of the largest nature reserves in Europe. Today, a diverse range of endangered species finds refuge there, including bears, wolves, and lynxes.

The Chernobyl disaster is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Source: SciTechDaily