Photo by Giant Ginkgo on Flickr

Scientists have a new approach to monitoring radiation levels around Fukushima: They're outfitting local monkeys with radiation-measuring collars, then releasing them back into the wild. The monkeys will spend a month frolicking around the (potentially) nuclear forest, collecting data about radiation levels on the ground.

The experimental device, which will also include GPS tracking and a device to measure height, will be attached to as many as three monkeys in the forest in Minami Soma City as soon as February, [the lead researcher] said. [Ed. note: No way, as many as three whole monkeys??]

The creatures are expected to wear the collar for about a month. It will then be detached by the researchers using remote control technology and collected so the data can be analyzed.

This has the potential to give scientists a much better idea of the effect a disaster like the Fukushima meltdown has on the natural world, including water, trees, and wildlife. But it also has the potential for one of the radioactive monkeys to bite a researcher who will then develop the proportional strength of a monkey. I smell a musical!