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Science Idle

Japanese Use Wild Monkeys To Track Radiation 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the nuclear-plant-of-the-apes dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Scientists in Japan are taking a novel approach to measuring the impact of radiation in a forest affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis: enlisting the help of local wild monkeys. Takayuki Takahashi, a professor of robotic technology at Fukushima University, told CNN Wednesday his team was working on a collar fitted with a dosimeter to measure radiation levels that could be fitted to the monkeys before they are released back into the wild. Takahashi said the experiment would help researchers understand how radiation in the forest can affect human beings, as well as wild animals. While human scientists have been monitoring radiation levels from the air, the use of monkey 'assistants' will give them a clearer idea of conditions on the ground."
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Japanese Use Wild Monkeys To Track Radiation

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  • by FairAndHateful (2522378) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:51AM (#38380468)
    Isn't this kind of where King Kong comes from?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, but Godzilla did...

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:52AM (#38380472) Homepage

    Where have I heard this story before? Monkeys, nuclear radiation...

    Oh yeah, every Japanese monster movie ever made!

    • king knog vs godzilla?

  • by PopeAlien (164869) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @01:03AM (#38380510) Homepage Journal

    I'm guessing if they gave them a room full of a million typewriters they'd actually just scream and hurl feces.

    That's probably what I'd do too.

  • Japan has everything cool!

  • Just use a scale based on how much they glow.
  • Welcome our irradiated primate overlords. So this is how Planet of the Apes happened.
  • Or maybe we should send author of this idea together with some monkey. If monkey can go there, then human should be able to follow it.
  • I think we now know how the Planet of the Apes ACTUALLY started...
  • by dhungan (1253846) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:24AM (#38380774)

    Our wild monkeys track money. And rule us too.

  • by jtnix (173853) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:26AM (#38380780) Homepage

    Excuse me, but how is this tagged 'Idle'? And what's with the Planet Of The Ape jokes which is derivative of complete fiction?

    This is a real country with a real populace.

    Seems like a significant research technique for an original scenario, mutation jokes be damned.

    • by macshit (157376)
      I agree. Mutation jokes are fine, but move this story out of idle; it isn't.
    • Lighten up (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Riktov (632) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:42AM (#38380814) Journal

      Bah. I live in Japan, was born here, and will probably die here; hopefully from old age, perhaps from radiation or from earthquakes, who knows?

      But hey, monkeys are funny. They are also fascinating.

      And I love stupid Planet of the Apes jokes. Even stupid Godzilla and radiation jokes don't bother me. They probably don't bother the researchers either, and they sure as hell don't bother the monkeys. After all, they're monkeys! And get your stinking paws off me you damned dirty apes!

      • by bronney (638318)

        How old are you user 632? :D

        • by Riktov (632)

          Mid-forties; nowhere near old age.

          In my comment I was just making the point that I am one of those poor people - ZOMG, I could die any day from an earthquake or radiation poisoning!!! - that the parent poster thinks people should not make jokes in front of.

          More radioactive rabid robot monkey jokes, please.

    • This is a real country with a real populace.

      And? Who said otherwise?

  • This is done in the US as well. . . at nuclear weapon storage facilities monkeys are released and allowed to live in the areas around the site, yet within the perimeter. They are monitored for radiation levels as a last ditch failsafe test of radiation leakage. My friend was in the national guard and was stationed on such a facility, and the running joke was that they were just protecting the monkeys, not the weapons.
  • I guess the question I have is why monkeys?(other than monkeys are awesome of course :P) Is there any advantage to using monkeys over other types of animals, particularly since monkeys are quite social and thus tend to clump together in groups.... Unfortunately TFA doesn't explain why monkeys were chosen.
    • Re:Why monkeys? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bahstid (927038) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @05:39AM (#38381458)
      As someone who lives in a mountainous area of Japan, I will hazard a guess:
      Japan is not exactly teaming with wildlife choices are:

      Bear
      Deer
      Rabbit
      Fox
      Tanuki (a dictionary will tell you its a racoon-dog, more to the racoon end of the scale though)
      Kamoshika (Hairy mountain goat thing)
      Monkey

      Throw everything out that hibernates.
      Throw out everything that has terrain limitations in very dense bush, or steepness.
      Throw out things that are difficult to catch or dangerous.
      Think Kamoshika's are protected/endangered are pretty elusive and don't leave the mountains....

      Monkeys seem like a good choice, and are probably slightly more similar to us (in case they start showing full blown radiation sickness) than an Andrias japonicus [wikipedia.org]
  • "The creatures are expected to wear the collar for about a month. "

    This isn't going to tell them anything they couldn't get by putting dosimeters around the various locations where people would normally be as opposed to the local forests.

    • by rwise2112 (648849)
      I'd say even less useful than tacking the monitors to trees. These monkeys are going to be all over the place, and in the end they'll just get a exposure reading with no way to determine from which area.
  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @06:17AM (#38381612)

    ...you know we're all fucked when the first one says "NO!"

  • We simply send the monkeys out into the wild, and the ones that encounter large doses of radiation come back and tell us all about it.
  • Most posters don't seem to grasp the fact these are local wild monkeys. Not captured monkeys from elswhere released in the irradiated area. And now I bet the next suggestion will be deporting all wildlife from the irradiated area or forcing an anti-radiation suit on them...
  • Was anyone else reminded of the Movie Project X?
  • by cvtan (752695) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:50AM (#38381902)
    And the monkey unemployment problem is solved!
    • Bah! They're taking jobs away from inner city kids who could benefit from a little real work experience.

      Note to Newt:

      Order a few crates of those collars for your youth janitorial program. You'll teach them about obedience to authority, and keep property secure from the shiftless, thieving little urchins. Win - Win -Win!

  • The U.S. Use Wild Monkeys To Track Radiation Too.... They're called Stripclubs.
  • They had a monkey escape a lab, and are saying now that they let hi out on purpose to do experiments about what introduction of an animal that is radioactive into the wild would do to the rest of the animals, and maybe even humans.....I don't know but I smell something..... not quite sure what it is.....

  • by cstacy (534252)
    It was 2013 when they were all finally captured, transported in white trucks, loaded onto wooden fishing boats and banished to the evacuated island of Me-shima. The sullen, glowing creatures, some with open sores and missing hair, were unloaded from their crates by the workers in their hazard isolation suits. The workers were helicoptered onto a waiting ship back to Nagasaki, leaving the radmonkeys miserably exiled to the tiny island, presumably forever.

    It has been 17 years, now, but the scientists stop
  • by ssyladin (458003)

    Am I the only one who is waiting for an xkcd comic to come from this?

  • It's good that the Japanese have learned to always mount scratch monkeys:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scratch_monkey [wikipedia.org]

  • PETAphiles are going to have a field day with this, they don't even like the Japanese dressing up virtual Italian plumbers in a fur suit.

  • It is much easier to read a glowing monkey than listen to a Geiger counter. In Japan, I believe wild monkeys are quite often seen as pests so it makes it ok. Now if they could only militarize the cicadia population.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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