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 Chernobyl birds are small brained
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By: jkr (offline) on Saturday, February 05 2011 @ 09:06 PM EST (Read 847 times)  

I ran across this article this morning that brought back memories of the Chernobly nuclear disaster. I'm sure none of us ever imagined that it would still be impacting wildlife 25 years later. If it is affecting birds this way one has to wonder how it is affecting humans and other species of animals.

Birds living around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident have 5% smaller brains, an effect directly linked to lingering background radiation.

The finding comes from a study of 550 birds belonging to 48 different species living in the region, published in the journal PLoS One.

Brain size was significantly smaller in yearlings compared to older birds.

Smaller brain sizes are thought to be linked to reduced cognitive ability.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers from Norway, France and the US led by Professor Timothy Mousseau from the University of South Carolina, US, and Dr Anders Moller from the University of Paris-Sud, France.

Harmful legacy

In April 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.

After the accident, traces of radioactive deposits were found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere.

More to this article here


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