On April 26, 1986, the world changed forever after a massive meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Pripyat in modern-day Ukraine.
The event was significant not only for the human and ecological toll of the disaster, but for its geopolitical ramifications as well. The attempted coverup of this global catastrophe perfectly epitomized the shady and selfish nature of the Soviet Union, and forever imbued the global community with a sense of skepticism regarding any news coming out of the Kremlin.
More frightening still was the raw impact of the meltdown, which to this day is still spewing incredible amounts of radiation while encased in literal tons of concrete – the only way that the disaster could be contained.
Scientists monitoring the site have discovered something truly incredible, however, and it could change the way in which we view radiation from here on out.
A type of black fungi that eats radiation was discovered inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
In 1991, the strange fungi was found growing up the walls of the reactor, which baffled scientists due to the extreme, radiation-heavy environment.
Researchers eventually realized that not only was the fungi impervious to the deadly radiation, it seemed to be attracted to it.
A decade later, researchers tested some of the fungi and determined that it had a large amount of the pigment melanin — which is also found, among other places, in the skin of humans.
Here’s where things get truly batty:
People with darker skin tones tend to have much more melanin, which is known to absorb light and dissipate ultraviolet radiation in skin.
However in fungi, it reportedly absorbed radiation and converted it into some type of chemical energy for growth.
This type of fungus has been studied by scientists before, dating back to the fossil record of the cretaceous period when the earth suddenly experienced a near-total failure of our magnetic “shield” against interstellar radiation – an event that killed nearly all of the plant and animal life on earth.