Is it true that cockroaches can survive a
In 1945 as the Second World War neared its end,
two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Much later, when the smoke had cleared, rumour has it that the only
survivor was a tiny insect known as a cockroach.
As a result, tests were carried out on the insects to see if their
radiation defences were as tough as first thought.
The two bombs that ended the war had a strength of around 10,000 radon
units. When exposed to this level during the experiment, the cockroaches
did survive. However, when the force was increased to 100,000, they all
died. Cockroaches are tough, but not invincible.
The science explanation behind their amazing resilience is that they
have extremely simple and slow cell cycles which protects them from the
effect of the radiation. Cells are at their weakest to radiation when
they are dividing and, unlike humans, as this happens much less
frequently in cockroaches, they have a higher tolerance.
Does this mean that cockroaches are invincible to a nuclear bomb then?
Well not exactly. They would probably disintegrate in the explosion and
fry in the heat of the blast. Also, don’t forget that the strength of
nuclear bombs these days is much greater than those of 1945.
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