Study Finds Chernobyl Dogs Evolving Fast.

Without humans, all animals have prospered

Thousands of feral canines, many of them descendants of pets left behind in the rapid evacuation, live among radiation-resistant animals.

As the world's worst nuclear disaster approaches its 40th anniversary, biologists are studying animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ), about the size of Yosemite National Park,

. to determine how decades of radiation exposure may have altered their genomes and sped up evolution.

The University of South Carolina and the National Human Genome Research Institute are studying 302 feral canines from the CEZ to determine how radiation affected their genomes

Science Advances reported their findings this month.

“Do they have mutations that let them live and breed here?” dog genetics expert Elaine Ostrander told The New York Times.

Radiation accelerates evolution. Developing crops for a warmer planet involves irradiating seeds in space to promote beneficial mutations.

For years, scientists have studied CEZ bacteria, rats, and birds. Eastern tree frogs (Hyla orientalis), generally green, were more black in the CEZ, according to a 2016 study.