Can animals sense that an earthquake is about to happen?

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Credits: He Gong / Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Minutes after the Melbourne quake in yesterday’s earthquake, my Victorian friends reported changes in their animal behavior.

Written by a friend Social media His dog Harvey stands in the hallway and barks for 5 minutes Previous The earth has moved. A colleague reported that the TV reception was blurry, but when he went out to check the air, he noticed “an unusual and impressive lack of bird calls” before feeling the quake. ..

My friend, Henry, mysteriously disappeared before the earthquake, but returned home safe and sound a few hours later. Conversely, his fear of storms, Rough Collie’s Angie, would be “completely cooled” before, during and after the earthquake.

Earthquakes are anxious, frightening and potentially fatal. 1989 Newcastle earthquake 13 dead, 160 injured. It can really save lives if our animal companions can take care of us when such an event is likely to occur. But can they really do it? Let’s look at the evidence.

The academic literature provides dozens of case reports Pet, Cattle, Wildlife, and even Insect I behaved strangely before the earthquake.

However, the review of the 180 publications reporting 700 records of abnormal or abnormal animal behaviors before 160 earthquakes, the evidence to correlate these behaviors with subsequent earthquakes was found to be weak.

Most of the reports are anecdotal and were produced after the earthquake, making them vulnerable to “recall bias”. Simply put, people may be more likely to interpret animal behavior as strange, especially in light of memorable or traumatic events.

To prove that abnormal animal behavior can predict earthquakes, scientists moved animals under controlled environmental conditions long enough to observe pre, intermediate, and post-earthquake behavior. It must be observed for a long time. You should also watch the animals to be sure that they are actually behaving strangely before the earthquake. No Strange behavior when there is it’s not An impending earthquake.

Unfortunately, the evidence is not close enough to satisfy this. However, the review authors found that the expected “predictive” behavior of the animals was “Foreshock” – a small earthquake that precedes a major earthquake.

In this case, what people interpret as an animal’s ability to “predict” an earthquake may actually be a reaction to the vibrations or sound of an earthquake that is too faint for us humans. , can detect it.

This is not surprising given that animals are often superior to us in terms of sensory perception, such as: odor..And almost 60% of abnormal animal behaviors associated with earthquakes 5 minutes before the earthquake ..

Fear and flight

The fear, anxiety, and distress caused by the preliminary shock may explain why animals exhibit behaviors such as vocalizing (like the howling dog Harvey) and fleeing to places where they feel safe (like the cat that Henry disappears). May be.

But of course Harvey and Henry could have behaved this way for reasons purely unrelated to the earthquake, and the timing was purely coincidental. There are many reasons why a dog howls (the courier opens the main door) or a cat disappears (cats can be heard). Its loud and hiding under the bed), but we tend to make connections only when we notice the same stimulus.

What we do know is that animals can be severely affected by an earthquake, such as injury, movement, or reduced access to food or water. Thousands of animals, together 185 people Died in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, more animals lost their homes due to property damage.

Yesterday’s earthquake is an important reminder for people with animal friends. Include them in your emergency plan. Dogs and cats must be identified by a collar, tagged and microchipped. Also, don’t forget to update your contact details if you move or change your phone number. This way it is easier to see each other again.


Can your dog predict an earthquake? Evidence is volatile, researchers say


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Quote: Can animals detect that an earthquake is about to occur? (September 23, 2021) Retrieved September 23, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-animals-earthquake.html

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