[dropcap]N[/dropcap]uclear war would be very bad. What with the mass death and destruction, it would be better if we all just decided to get along rather than resorting to launching nukes at each other. But if it were to happen, and the earth became irradiated and frozen in a nuclear winter, what would happen to life? Would everything die.
There are quite a few forms of life that would survive. Such as…
Probably the most well known of all the animals to potentially survive a nuclear war, the cockroach is capable of withstanding moderate amounts of radiation and is thought to have been able to survive around 1,000 feet away from where the Hiroshima bomb detonated.
10% of cockroaches in their test survived a radiation level of 10,000 rads. The “small” Hiroshima bomb gave off around 10,000 rads, so it is possible that cockroaches can survive but only if they were sufficiently far from the epicenter of the radiation. In contrast, a human exposed to 10,000 rads would suffer an instantaneous coma and, pretty rapidly, death. The cockroach’s ability to survive is due to their slow growth rate. Their cells only reproduce every 48 hours and so the risk of mutation is lowered.
Surprised? Well, despite all that’s known about our ability to survive radiation, it’s quite possible that humans would survive nuclear war. There are several reasons for this. First, the amount of nuclear weaponry in the world is actually decreasing, meaning fewer bombs. While the existing bombs could technically wipe everyone out, that would be unlikely as humans are too scattered around the world. Although bombs are around 1,000 times more powerful now than Hiroshima it doesn’t mean that 1,000 times more people will die.
scorpions are likely to survive. As anyone who has seen them in captivity knows, they are not harmed by ultraviolet radiation and do in fact, glow in the dark. Scorpions are not only able to survive UV radiation though, they could likely could likely survive nuclear radiation as well. They are also found in every continent other than Antarctica and can even be frozen and brought back to life. This may help them survive a frozen nuclear winter.
Braconidae is large family of parasitoid wasps (wasps that lay eggs inside other animals). Luckily for them they are highly resistant to radiation, so they have a very high likelihood to survive nuclear fallout. Researchers have discovered they can withstand up to 180,000 rads of radiation, making them one of the toughest animals alive today.
The Fruit Fly
The common fruit fly, or Drosophilla if you want to be specific, can survive high doses of radiation up to around 64,000 rads. Most insects, as it happens, are quite capable of surviving radiation due to slow cell division, and extremely fast reproduction in the case of the fruit fly. The ability to reproduce means they have the ability to evolve very quickly to any change in conditions.