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Radioactive wild boars have been roaming forests of Germany for decades. Scientists believed their radioactivity was due to 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. However, animals' radioactivity has long mystified scientists because while levels of radioactive caesium in other animals has decreased over years, radioactivity in wild boars has persisted at high levels. Scientists have dubbed this mystery "wild boar paradox". New research now attributes contamination of Germany's wild boars to nuclear weapons tests from mid-20th century. The Chernobyl reactor produced caesium-137, which has much shorter life than caesium-135 created by nuclear weapons.

Scientists believe reason wild boars have remained so radioactive compared to other forest creatures is their love of delicacy truffle mushrooms. Radioactive particles accumulate in these underground fungi, which form part of boars' diet. The high levels of caesium in boars make animals too dangerous to be eaten under German law. This has resulted in reduction in hunting of the animals, which has led to proliferation of their numbers. Geochemist James Kaste asks why effects of nuclear weapons testing on environment have been "under-studied and largely forgotten". He said: "This is one of ultimate case studies showing how legacy soil pollution can haunt generations to come."

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