Earless bunny video stokes Japan nuke fears

The earthquake and tsunami-spawned disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has raised concern about possible biological mutations.

And now, a video that's gone viral on YouTube is adding to those concerns.

It shows a baby rabbit with no ears, supposedly born in April on a farm about 18 miles from the crippled plant, which is about 140 miles northeast of Tokyo.

RussiaToday, which posted the video, says, "The clip has given rise to fears the radiation threat in the area is far worse than previously thought. The funny bunny has caused an online frenzy, with predictions that babies in Japan may soon be born with mutations."

However, AOL News quotes F. Ward Whicker, professor emeritus at Colorado State University's Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, as saying there could certainly be other explanations for the bunny's missing ears.

"Yes," Whicker wrote in an a-mail to AOL News, "radiation can cause mutations that can be occasionally expressed as obvious birth defects, such as shown in the video. However, to say this is the result of contamination from the Fukushima accident is a stretch, because natural radiation, as well as many other chemical substances in the environment and other factors, can also be mutagenic."

To see the YouTube video, click below:

CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor had a report on the bunny on "The Early Show" Friday. It's the one at the top of this story.

Comments