After the 1986 reactor explosion at Chernobyl, a large region around the power plant became inhospitable for humans. This 1,000-square-mile exclusion zone is still home to wildlife, however, some of which has actually begun to adapt to the radioactive environment. Certain species of birds seem to be producing higher levels of antioxidants, and exhibit less damage to their DNA from ionizing radiation. Though other bird species have experienced stark population losses and instances of deformed beaks, this adaptation is a hopeful note in the decades following the Chernobyl tragedy.
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Key Facts In This Video
The exclusion zone around Chernobyl has radiation levels that are too high for most species to tolerate. 01:32
Some species of birds in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have exhibited tumors and other physical abnormalities, such as deformed beaks. 02:20
Trees cut down near Chernobyl have a dramatic change in the color of their rings that corresponds with the year of the disaster. 03:28